PET SEMATARY: New Genre Voices Continue to Conquer Hollywood

When IT was released there was a debate online about how to classify what the film. Was IT a remake? A re-imagining? A new adaptation of the classic novel? Something called a re-adaptation? Does it matter?

It clearly didn’t matter to general audiences who helped elevate IT to the largest box office opening weekend for a horror movie EVER, more than double the previous record holder Paranormal Activity 3. On top of also breaking the record for September releases (ironically previously held by Hotel Transylvania 2), the film is currently sitting at number five for the highest grossest 2017 film with over $323 million and is projected to overtake Spiderman: Homecoming for the number four slot, especially after this Halloween season is through. It just makes financial sense for studios to strike while the iron is hot and wade through the countless words that Stephen King has written to find the next IT.

And it could very well be Pet Sematary.

Variety broke the news that Paramount is reportedly finalizing a deal with directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch to helm a new adaptation of King’s classic novel of the same name, last seen on screens in Mary Lambert’s 1989 vision. Widmyer and Kolsch are best known for their work on the monumental cult favorite Starry Eyes and the anthology film Holidays. Jeff Buhler (Midnight Meat Train, SyFy’s Nightflyers) is penning the new adaptation.

It is incredibly exciting that Widmyer and Kolsch are now attached to this project. While the original film is a cult favorite, and Mary Lambert is one of the most talented directors working, the film’s visual storytelling leaves much to be desired. With the careful eye of Widmyer and Kolsch, who showed us how they can paint with color and light on the screen in Starry Eyes, Pet Sematary could be a visual feast for the eyes.

Horror has been celebrated this year for “saving Hollywood” by bringing in massive box office numbers for studios during an otherwise dry Summer. An unintended side effect that we hope will be celebrated as well as made an example of is a major studio taking a risk on new filmmakers for blockbuster releases. And we are already seeing this effect: David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) is directing the upcoming Shazam! film starring Zachary Levi, and Michael Dougherty (Trick r Treat, Krampus) is at the helm for the upcoming Godzilla: King of Monsters release. 

More details are scarce at the moment, but we’ve just got to say: it’s a hell of a good time to be a horror fan right now. With the amount of new voices in the genre that we are getting, and the level of respect that the films are receiving outside of the general genre community, is just a gift. Horror is alive and well and living in 2017.