Pet Graveyard, 2019.
Directed by Rebecca Matthews.
Starring Jessica Otoole, David Cotter, Rita Siddiqui, Claire-Maria Fox, Andrew Hollingworth, and Hattie Willow.
The Grim Reaper and his sinister pet torment a group of people after they undergo an experiment that allows them to revisit the dead.
Ever wondered what would happen if you mixed the films Flatliners and Pet Sematary? Well, director Rebecca Matthews and writer Suzy Spade have a movie for you!
Pet Graveyard is the newest film from Millman Productions, the company growing in popularity for their “mockbusters.” Their movies usually come around the same time a Hollywood production with a similar name is being released. The plots are generally identical to the blockbuster film or a mash-up of various ideas. This type of filmmaking is something many studios have done for years, and it’s quite brilliant. Look at the success Sharknado was for the distributor The Asylum; there is a market for these films, and I often find them to be enjoyable. Sadly, Pet Graveyard doesn’t transcend to “so bad, it’s good” and becomes more of a miss than a hit for Millman Production.
While the film’s plot is familiar enough not to be horrid, Pet Graveyard doesn’t add anything new to the material. The story follows the brother and sister duo of Lily and Jeff as they attempt a dangerous experiment to see the other side. Lily (Jessica Otoole) is tired of her brother risking his life to prove something to himself, and Jeff (David Cotter) is trying to find his place in the world. Both are going into the Flatliners-esque experiment for different reasons, but it both ends up being the biggest mistakes they’ll ever make.
While the group thinks this will help them close off chapters of their life, all this does is open themselves up to a Grim Reaper who doesn’t like that Jeff, Lily, and the rest know how to manipulate the afterlife. Alongside him is an adorable sphinx cat that the filmmakers want so hard to be menacing. Pet Graveyard also never dives into full Pet Sematary homage as it just sticks masked Reaper following around people messing around between the world of the dead and living. Unless these are Gage and Church from the 1989 film and they’ve had a very rough afterlife.
Pet Graveyard wants to be this sad piece but would be better off owning its adorable cheesiness. A usual rule of thumb for these type of movies is to go all out and then ask people to reel you in. But for a film with an homage title and an insane plot, you find yourself wanting to live up to their crazy potential.
Again, the general plot and story of Pet Graveyard aren’t the issues. The script has a solid enough outline to tell a complete story, but the dialogue and acting leave you wanting more. The acting is so stilted; no one comes off naturally, and it seems like most of the actors are going through the motions. The visuals are a bit unimaginative as well; everything from the cinematography to the villain design feels a bit flat. None of it springs off the screen with most scenes having flat, even lighting (rare for a horror film) and the camera keeping mostly static shots. None of it helps when the Grim Reaper appears and just looks like a man wearing a cheap mask than a supernatural force.
It’s hard to recommend Pet Graveyard for viewers. It’s harmless and features enough of a story to carry you through even the dullest of moments, but it lacks that extra bit of horror magic. For a film that’s a “mockbuster,” you’d expect something a bit more fun. It’s better to laugh with a movie or at a movie; it’s never good to sit there idly waiting for something to happen.
In the film with a similar name Pet Sematary, there’s a saying called “dead is better.” Well, I guess Pet Graveyard is nowhere near death cause this doesn’t touch the quality of the films it wants to rip-off.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★