"A place where the dead… speak."
Stephen King’s Pet Sematary gave us the ominous saying “Sometimes dead is better,” but a new version of the back-from-the-dead horror story has been resurrected, too. Here’s a first look at the upcoming adaptation, headed to theaters April 5.
Behold Church, a.k.a. Winston Churchill, the beloved pet cat of the Creed family, who’s the first no-longer-living thing to get a new lease on life from the ancient burial grounds in these Maine woods.
Jud and Ellie
John Lithgow stars as Jud Crandall, the mysterious old-timer who knows the secret of the woods beyond the pet graveyard. Here he shows Ellie Creed (11-year-old Jeté Laurence) the handmade marker for his own dog, Biffer (“a helluva sniffer”). Why does he seem to get mixed up on the year the dog died, though?
Dr. Creed and family
Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz star as Louis and Rachel Creed, who have moved from Boston to this rural corner of Maine because he has a new job as a doctor at the university. Ellie is already enchanted by their woodland surroundings, while little Gage (played by twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie) is fascinated by the big trucks that roar up and down their road.
Mother and child
Seimetz says the Creed family’s move to countryside still doesn’t sit right with the fiercely protective mom of two. The death of Rachel’s sister when she was young still haunts her. “She’s so closed off from her past and trying to have control of the situation for her kids where they don’t feel tragedy like she did,” the actress says. “She wants them to have a flowery, more happy childhood.”
Surrogate father and son
The two men form a bond that leads Jud to tell Dr. Creed about the resurrection grounds after Church meets an untimely end. “I love when [King] describes Jud, when he’s taking him up in the woods,” Clarke says. When the men hear shrieking in the woods, the old man says, “‘They’re just loons, Louis, they’re loons!'” Clarke says with a laugh. “Then Louis says, ‘This time of the year?’ It’s winter. But you’ve got to believe that, or you’re f—ed. If you don’t believe that it’s a loon, you’re gonna lose your mind.”
Behind the scenes
Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (2014’s Starry Eyes) speak with Clarke and Lithgow on the set of Jud’s cramped, run-down living room. Kölsch said the men become like gamblers, thinking the resurrections can always be reversed. “Instead of just accepting the loss, they’re always trying to double down — and it just keeps costing more life.”