Pet Sematary II (1992)

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Released 12-Nov-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 96:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mary Lambert
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Anthony Edwards
Edward Furlong
Darlanne Fluegel
Jared Rushton
Clancy Brown
Jason Maguire
Jim Peak
Lisa Waltz
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Mark Governor


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
German
Greek
English
Spanish
French
Hebrew
Croatian
Icelandic
Italian
Hungarian
Dutch
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Finnish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis


Proving that the success of Pet Sematary was just a fluke after all, Paramount chose to ignore the central message of the first film (sometimes dead is better) to burden us with Pet Sematary 2. This miserable excuse for a movie reheats the original premise and serves it up with less appealing characters, more ridiculous situations, and a campy approach that stifles any chance of suspense or emotional resonance. Scoring a lame 3.5 out of 10 on IMDB Dot Com, Pet Sematary 2 deserves the contempt that audiences and critics alike threw at it.

Jeff Matthews (Edward Furlong) leaves LA to join his father Chase (Anthony Edwards) in Ludlow, Maine, after his mother Renee Harrow (Darlanne Fluegel) receives a 10,000 volt face-lift during an accident on the set of her latest movie. To add insult to injury, Jeff must deal with their bubbly new housekeeper Marjorie (Sarah Trigger) and schoolyard bully boy Clyde (Jared Rushton), who takes umbrage at Jeff's link with fame for no clear reason. As you can imagine, poor Jeff mooches around Ludlow wearing a permanent scowl. The only silver linings on his grey clouds are two new friends: a kitten from his dad's vet clinic, and fellow pariah Drew Gilbert (Jason McGuire). Drew's stepfather Gus (Clancy Brown) is the local sheriff and an ex-boyfriend of fallen star Renee. Unfortunately for Drew, Gus runs the family home much like the county lock-up, while his mum Amanda (Lisa Waltz) is too horny to address the issue. When Gus kills Drew's dog in a fit of anger, the Pet Sematary beckons as the obvious antidote for the boy's grief. And that's when the proverbial s***e starts to hit the proverbial fan, in more ways than one.

The acting is better here than in Pet Sematary, although it is wasted on a dumb script. Anthony Edwards (of ER and Top Gun fame) and pouty Edward Furlong (Terminator 2, American History X) play their roles dead straight, perhaps too much so. Darlanne Fluegel slums as the dearly diseased actress, Renee. Her career, which began promisingly with parts in Once Upon a Time in America, To Live and Die in LA, and Freeway, took a nose dive after Pet Sematary 2, with Scanner Cop and Darkman III being the only comparable highlights. The reliable Clancy Brown is exceptional as Sheriff Gilbert, although his character is no more believable than the story itself. On top of all that, hack scribbler Richard Outen deemed it necessary to drag the audience through a painful reintroduction of Pet Sematary lore, complete with clinical examinations of pets that inexplicably have no signs of life, a cantankerous old taxidermist (Jim Peck) who tells Chase about Ludlow's zombie traditions, and the mandatory conflagration in the climax.

The star of Pet Sematary 2 is the special effects work of Steve Johnson and Company, who provide delights such as fake spew, nasty septic wounds, a cool eye gouge, acupuncture via power drill, faces half scraped away and melting, skinned rabbits (reminding me of Nekromantik) and an exploding head. Although some gore appears to have been trimmed before release to obtain a US R rating, there is enough pandemonium on show to appease exploitation junkies. A scary undead canine running around like the spawn of Cerebus is also worth mentioning: the rocking-chair image is a guaranteed willy-maker. Pity about the rest of the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Framed at 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, Pet Sematary 2 appears richer on DVD than its predecessor. This may be due in part to cinematographer Russell Carpenter, who also performed the camera pointing chores on Lamnmower Man, Hard Target, True Lies, Titanic, Charlies Angels and Shallow Hal. The crisp, sugary look he imposed on those films is very much evident in Pet Sematary 2.

Sharpness and detail are striking throughout the feature. Hair, clothing textures, foreground prop details, and foliage pop off the screen, making this a beautifully photorealistic viewing experience. Edge enhancement is only visible in a handful of shots (rocky outline at 31:15), and even then, the instances are no more than fleeting whiskers of white. Shadow detail is also spot on, and blacks are solid.

The abundant array of bright colours are rendered in fully saturated hues. Many shots, such as those in the classroom, contain the entire colour spectrum, thereby lending the movie its almost overly saccharine flavour. In contrast, the sombre tones of Georgia sliding through autumn injects the film with much of its darker atmosphere. The colour bleed and low level noise apparent on the VHS rental tape is totally absent here.

Film and compression artefacts are limited to a smattering of specks, unavoidable instances of aliasing and the occasional grainy shot, with the worst example appearing at 55:52. These minor glitches are only noticeable because the rest of the transfer is so clean and stable.

The layer change happens at 56:46 on a close-up of Dr. Quentin Yolander (Ludlow's original vetinarian) between sentences. This placement is mildly jarring. Am I the only one who is growing tired of explaining what "that annoying pause" is to home theatre guests? Instant layer changes should be standard on all players. Build it and I will pay.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

If the video transfer of PS 2 trumps that of PS 1, the audio comparison tells a different story. The sequel has a lazy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack compressed at 448 kb/s. The foreign language Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks are flatter again.

Dialogue is intelligible and in sync with the visuals. Distortion is not a problem, even when Jeff screams his head off during the early mishap involving his mom dying and all: no more hanging out with the 90210 'in crowd'.

The music score by Mark Governor is predominantly synthesized, with an acoustic guitar thrown in for variation during the few tender moments. Overall, the original music is pretty corny, giving the film an unintentional direct-to-video ambience. Director Mary Lambert once more peppers the movie with a number of indie rock tracks (The Ramones, L7) that are mixed at relatively low levels, except for the L7 song 'Shit List' and those playing over the end credits. Where is the punch? The various elements of the score are positioned across the front sound stage. Separation and fidelity are fair.

As with the music, the sound effects are relegated to the moderately wide front sound stage. Disconnecting the rears would have made little impact on this soundtrack we're talking a few crickets and hints of a thunderstorm at best. The limited dynamic range may prompt numerous volume hikes before you give up in frustration. Gunshots, vicious dog barks, screams and some motor vehicle carnage are the most jolting noises here. Directional effects are used sparingly.

Subwoofer assistance is rarely called upon.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

The menus are static with 16x9 enhanced graphics and no sound.

Theatrical Trailer (1:23)

This is presented at a ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Ironically, the catch line is, "Some stories just won't stay dead."

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 DVD misses out on: The Region 1 DVD misses out on: With the inclusion of an anamorphic trailer over the 4x3 letterboxed trailer on the US disc, the Australian release could be the champion. According to one source, however, our trailer is most likely the tame bloodless trailer, not the gorier variation that appears on the US DVD.

Summary

Seeing The Man Who Wasn't There and Ghost World in the same week that I saw Pet Sematary Two for the first time in 10 years did the film no favours. The first half is actually OK, but like a lettuce left in the fridge too long, this puppy quickly turns rancid. So far, a third sequel has not made an appearance. Pray that it never will.

The DVD is definitive, though. Paramount have ported the same video and audio transfers from the US version for PAL markets. There are no extras, but something tells me that few of the people involved in this production would want to resurrect their deeply buried memories of Pet Sematary 2. Sometimes dead is better indeed.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rod Williams (Suss out my biography if you dare)
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-737, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Ergo (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMarantz AV9000 Pre-amp.
AmplificationArcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier
SpeakersFront: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)

Other Reviews NONE
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