PET SEMETARY II
Pet Semetary II was given a languid response by audiences, although it is not entirely an unworthy work. It is the rarity of sequel that presents the same ideas as the original but more satisfyingly than its predecessor did. Here the thrust of emotions that the book and first film were about is reversed the first film was about a parents love of their child being turned against them; Pet Semetary II is about, in one instance, the childs loss of a parent and, in the other case, their fear of a domineering (step)-parent, and those emotions being turned back against the children. The first films emotional thrust is something that could only be truly appreciated by parents. But with adults instead of a barely-speaking preadolescent come back from the grave, the idea has a much more complex resonance in Pet Semetary II.
Unfortunately, the potential horror of the situation seems to be the better of Mary Lambert. Clancy Browns performance once undead becomes far too broad and takes Pet Semetary II into the realm of the campy unserious horrors that Freddy Krueger and the Chucky films have worked to death in recent years. Nevertheless, in articulating the films emotional thrust of creating undead that are not merely blankly shuffling flesh-crazed zombies but are nightmare inversions of the central characters emotional longings, Mary Lambert is successful. Indeed, this films most potent image comes at its climax in the image of Darlanne Fluegel come back from the grave at Edward Furlongs instigation to fulfill his heartfelt wish that the family will work, only to reveal that she too is something inhuman behind the visage.
The first Pet Semetary seemed bland when it came to its horrors but here Mary Lambert has gained her stride and hits in with a satisfyingly grisliness at times. There is one image of the undead Clancy Brown sitting and gutting his beloved pet rabbits that stands out with memorable impact. Unusually and, perhaps not entirely successfully, Mary Lambert seems determined that the characters she kills off throughout not be seen as random victims but as people in an ending that touchingly frames each of the victims on screen in vignette.
Unfortunately, Pet Semetary II lacks an overall wholeness it never satisfyingly comes together. The reason for this might be seen in a comparison between the plots of this and the original. What made the first film work is not so much its theme but the way that Stephen King approached it, particularly during the latter half where he gave it a driving sense of cosmic fear, of a great and unutterable desecration about to be committed and of the supernatural stepping in to aid in stopping it. Pet Semetary II lacks any similar sense of drive and seems too pedestrian and obvious in its setting up of characters and situations.