There are movies that tend to get discounted simply due to the fact that they’re forced to follow original movies that weren’t that great, to begin with, and this is the plight of Pet Sematary II, since, despite the story being scary and creepy as hell, the movie didn’t really show what people were hoping to see. The unfortunate part of this is that it does feel as though not enough effort was placed into the second movie to make it stand out in the way that the first one didn’t. Granted, the first movie went full dark by dint of the idea that Gage Creed did in fact become inhabited by a demonic presence. But apart from that, the first movie was kind of ‘meh’, since the acting didn’t really go the way that a lot of fans might have been expecting. It wasn’t horrible, but it was definitely not what had been hyped up by Stephen King’s storytelling skills. The thing about Pet Sematary II is that it did go into the legend, but not so deeply that people had to invest in everything that went into it. In other words, it had the chance to be a horror story, not an overly dramatic feature.
Some might want to disagree, but the simplicity of this movie is what makes it. True, it is a bit campy and the production value isn’t all that great, but where the first Pet Sematary went in swinging and trying to become something that would be just as great as the book, the second movie managed to come in and just tell a story that happened to be related to the first one but wasn’t beholden to it. We didn’t have to go over the idea of what the ancient burial ground was and why the Creed family was so important. While this movie had to connect to the first in order to be worthy of the title, it didn’t sink into the Creed’s backstory that much and went on to be its own thing.
In a sense, it became something more given the fact that the character of Gus, despite becoming violent and extremely disturbed, was also kind of useful to the plot. While the first living being to die was a dog named Zowie, the character of Gus, played by Clancy Brown, was a bit different due to the fact that he became a lot more protective of his stepson, Drew, after being brought back to life. Gus would eventually go psychotic and go on to murder Drew and his mother by running their car into a potato truck, but the point is that Gus was still in control of his faculties, more or less, and became evil over a period of time, unlike Zowie, who came back super-aggressive all at once. But if there’s a point to this story, and there is, it’s that once something or someone is dead, it’s best to simply let them be, especially when bringing them back means bringing back something even worse. But, when it’s a horror movie we’re talking about, the thing to remember is that people are going to make mistakes and then make them worse, which is kind of the point.
Jeff, played by Edward Furlong, is a prime example of this since he plays the part of a kid whose parents are having marital problems to start with, meaning that he’s moody, he’s picked a parent that he wants to stick around, and he’s a bit belligerent to his father, played by Anthony Edwards, who cares about him but can’t put up with his mother, an actress who spends too much time away from her family. When Jeff’s mother dies, however, he and his father move to Ludlow, Maine, where she grew up, and try to get on with their lives. After Gus’s death, and following the funeral of Drew and his mother, Jeff convinces Gus to dig up his mother so that he can bury her in the cursed cemetery so that she can come back to life. You see where this is going, right? One horrible mistake leads to another, then another, and when Jeff finally realizes how bad the situation has become he has no choice but to fight yet another undead individual, a bully from school that was murdered by Gus, before leaving his mother to burn as she shouts at him that ‘dead is better’.
That’s definitely a hard point to argue in this movie since mucking around with ancient burial grounds that already have a bad reputation for bringing people back isn’t the smartest move in the book. But the main reason why this movie is easy to overlook is that it does follow a movie that didn’t perform the way people expected. The truth is that the second movie made its stand without really needing the first movie, apart from a short explanation of the burial ground’s reputation.