Pet Sematary appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. I don’t expect much from late 80s movies, but Sematary looked surprisingly terrific.
Overall sharpness worked fine, as the majority of the movie offered nice delineation. A few interiors felt a little soft but most of the film seemed accurate and well-defined.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. The movie came with a nice sense of light grain and failed to show any print flaws.
Colors tended toward a mix of natural tones, and the Blu-ray replicated them well. This meant the hues appeared full, albeit on the chilly side to suit the material, and the disc’s HDR added a little zing to the tones.
Blacks seemed dark and dense, while shadows were largely appealing, though a few low-light shots seemed a bit thick. Contrast got a boost from the HDR. Overall, the visuals worked nicely, especially given the movie’s low-budget origins.
Positive thoughts greeted the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Sematary as well. I expected the film to come with a subdued soundfield, and that was almost always the case. Music demonstrated fine stereo imaging, and the mixes conveyed a good sense of the various settings.
On occasion, we got a little more life from the material. For instance, scare beats added some oomph and involvement, as did vehicles, and weather-related elements could bring useful information. Nothing here dazzled, but the soundscape worked fine for the tale.
Audio quality seemed fine. A few lines sounded a little stiff, but most of the dialogue was natural and concise.
Effects fit in with the track well, as those elements appeared accurate and well-defined. Music fared best of all, so the movie’s score appeared warm and rich. This wasn’t a slam-bang soundtrack, but it was more than satisfactory.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the simultaneously issued Blu-ray? Audio remained identical, as both came with the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 material.
Both discs also used the same transfer, so the 4K UHD’s improvements came from format capabilities. This meant the 4K UHD looked a little tighter and offered stronger blacks and colors. However, one shouldn’t expect a major upgrade, as the two looked pretty similar.
We get an array of extras here, and we begin with an audio commentary from director Mary Lambert. She presents a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, and connected domains.
Lambert provides a perfectly okay commentary. While she goes silent a little too often and narrates the movie a little too much, she gives us enough info to make this a passable discussion of the film.
New to the 2019 release, we get two featurettes. Fear and Remembrance runs seven minutes, 14 seconds and includes notes from producer Mark Vahradian, screenwriter Jeff Buhler, directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, production designer Todd Cherniawsky, and actors Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow.
All of those folks worked on the 2019 version of Sematary, and they bring an appreciation of the 1989 edition. This feels more like a promo piece than anything else.
Also new for the 2019 disc, Revisitation goes for nine minutes, 38 seconds and features Lambert. She discusses how she came to the film as well as working with Stephen King, casting, sets and locations, the remastered transfer, and the film’s legacy.
Inevitably, some of the content here duplicates notes from Lambert’s commentary. Still, she brings some new notes and makes this a useful enough chat.
The final new component, Galleries breaks into three domains: “Storyboards” (16 screens), “Behind the Scenes” (44) and “Marketing” (18). We also find a one-minute intro to the storyboards from Lambert, as she lets us know what we’ll see.
All these areas offer some decent images, though it disappoints that we only get storyboards for one scene. Also, on my Panasonic player, the galleries advanced unusually slowly. Other machines may work better, but this still was a surprisingly sluggish process.
Under “Original Special Features”, three more featurettes appear, all created for a 2006 DVD. Stephen King Territory lasts 13 minutes, 10 seconds and offers details from Lambert, writer Stephen King, biographer Douglas E. Winter, producer Richard P. Rubinstein,
and actors Denise Crosby, Dale Midkiff, Brad Greenquist,
“Territory” covers aspects of the original novel and its move to the screen as well as locations and set design. This turns into a reasonably satisfactory show.
With The Characters, we find a 12-minute, 52-second reel that includes Lambert, Midkiff, King, Greenquist, director of photography Peter Stein and actor Fred Gywnne.
As expected, this piece examines cast, characters and performances. It becomes another decent exploration.
Finally, Filming the Horror fills 10 minutes, 29 seconds with statements from Winter, Lambert, Midkiff, and Greenquist. This offers a fairly general look at the production that provides a reasonably good overview, though not anything special.
In the history of Stephen King novels adapted for the screen, we’ve gotten a lot more bad than good, and Pet Sematary firmly falls in the “meh” pile. While not incompetent, it feels far too bland and monotonous to pack a punch. The 4K UHD comes with very good picture as well as pleasing audio and a smattering of supplements. Nothing about Sematary truly stinks but the film nonetheless remains a dull snoozer.
Note that this Pet Sematary 4K can be purchased on its own or as part of a five-movie "Paramount Scares” box. That package also includes 4K UHD releases for Rosemary’s Baby, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Crawl (2019) and Smile (2022).
The package provides a special edition of Fangoria magazine along with some movie-related stickers. Also note that as of October 2023, the Sweeney Todd 4K is exclusive to the “Paramount Scares” box. The other four movies can be purchased on 4K individually.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of PET SEMATARY