Pet Sematary

Movie Information

Church the Cat makes his Xpress movie review debut, reflecting on his experiences making the latest Stephen King adaptation.
Genre: Horror
Director: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow
Rated: R

I have a confession before I get started with this review. I am a cat.

You may be wondering what a cat is doing writing a movie review. It’s a fair question. No cats, to my knowledge, have ever penned reviews or made films before (though I have always suspected the Coen brothers are part cat). But I’m the cat that’s going to change all of that. I am Church, the fantastic feline who died and rose again – and who, I must say, completely stole the show in Kevin Kölsch’s and Dennis Widmyer’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.

Here’s the thing: I’m a consistently great cat in this film. I’m actually played by five cats, with names like Leo, Tonic, Jager and JD. These are fine cat names (though frankly, I don’t understand the name Tonic one bit, if I’m being honest — which I’m known to be after a dosing of catnip), but I like the name Church the best.

According to my 9-year-old owner and best friend, Ellie (Jeté Laurence), I’m named after Winston Churchill. But there’s another meaning in my name that’s more obvious and which no one ever talks about. You see, religion and spirituality are both noticeably absent in my family — yes, despite the fact that they named me Church.

Ellie’s dad Louis (Jason Clarke) is a doctor with a wiring for rationality and hard science. His wife, Rachel (Amy Seimetz), was so traumatized by the childhood death of her sister that she can’t think about mortality, much less what happens after we die. And 2-year-old Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoie) can’t talk or give me treats yet, so who cares what he’s thinking about?

But it’s always the case that the thing you try to bury (get it?) comes back to haunt you, isn’t it? When I get hit by a truck going too fast — and there are a whole lot of those in this film, so many that I wonder why my family didn’t build a fence or something — they can’t figure out how to tell Ellie I’m gone without having a big argument about it.

Clearly, burying me in an ancient, evil swamp watched over by the wendigo, a man-eating spirit of Algonquin folklore, is a way better plan than actually talking maturely to a child about death. Good thing Jud (John Lithgow), the friendly neighbor, is around to show Louis how to do it just right so that I can return – a little dirtier, stinkier and meaner — to my beloved Ellie.

Frankly, this is when I really get to shine. Being soft, fluffy and wholesome is one thing, but after my resurrection is when I get to let the claws come out. At first, my family is a little wary of the new me, and Louis starts to regret bringing me back at all, even though I’m a much better killer than I ever was before. I actually leave them an eviscerated bird as a thank you gift for welcoming me back, and they’re horrified. Humans — am I right?

I’m superglad when Ellie joins me in the postmortem world so we can both “hear the forest” together. Then we’re a totally unstoppable team — and, honestly, we’re doing it all just to make our family stronger and better, right? Because family is the most important thing. And even dead cats need a cozy, love-filled home in which to nap away the eldritch and unspeakable days ahead.

About Ali McGhee
Author, Multimedia Journalist for AVLtoday, freelance writer, radio DJ, yoga teacher, Enneagram coach...and a few other things.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.