• Pet Sematary Two (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: February 4th, 2020.
    Director: Mary Lambert
    Cast: Edward Furlong, Anthony Edwards, Clancy Brown, Jason Maguire
    Year: 1992
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    Pet Sematary Two – Movie Review:

    Thirteen-year-old Jeff Matthews (Edward Furlong) still misses his mother, Renee Hallow (Darlanne Fluegel), understandably, but he and his father Chase (Anthony Edwards) have really no choice but to move on since she passed away, the victim of a freak accident on a film set. They decide to move to the town of Ludlow, Maine and essentially start over.

    They settle in after the move, but Jeff has trouble making friends. The only one he really manages to connect with is a kid named Drew (Jason Maguire), the stepson of town sheriff Gus Gilbert (Clancy Brown), who tells him about some of the local legends. The main legend? Well, obviously it’s about that old Indian burial ground where dead things laid to rest in its soil come back to life. When Jeff’s dog, Zowie, is killed by Gus, Jeff decides to test Drew’s story and bury the poor pooch as instructed – and soon enough, the dog comes back. So, if it worked on the dog, what’s to stop Jeff from trying again with his mother….?

    Story wise, this is very much a rehash of the first movie – you can just swap out the dog for a cat and the mother for a dead son, and there you go. The apple didn’t fall very far from the tree at all in that regard. Still, there are differences between the two films, obviously, and some of them are substantial. Firstly, this one is stronger in the gore department than its predecessor, and as such it focuses less on the psychological horror of the first time and more on shock value. This second film isn’t as moody or as foreboding, it’s less interested in subtlety and more interested in just going for it (it was reportedly trimmed a fair bit to get an R-rating – it’s a shame that the excised work print footage that supposedly exists couldn’t be included here). That doesn’t make it better, but it does make it different.

    Production values are decent enough. The gore effects are not only plentiful but pretty well done. We realize in the first few minutes when Renee is roasted to death that this one is going to get a little gooey, and it doesn’t disappoint in that department. The movie is nicely shot and locations work nicely enough.

    As to the acting? Furlong is Furlong, he’s angsty and grumpy and morose and, well, one note. He doesn’t show much range here but he’s not a bad choice for the part, given that the part is one of an angsty, grump and morose kid. Jason Maguire is fine as his friend and Anthony Edwards is equally fine as his dad even if his relationship with Furlong never feels particularly realistic. The real star of the show, however, is Clancy Brown. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word discrete here, he chews the scenery in a big way and, quite honestly, he’s a blast to watch. Brown’s over the top performance saves the film, upping elements of dark comedy in the script in a big way and adding an air of ridiculousness to the proceedings that go a long way towards making it as entertaining as it is.

    Pet Sematary Two – Blu-ray Review:

    Pet Sematary Two comes to Blu-ray from Shout! Factory framed at 1.85.1 in AVC encoded 1080p high definition on a 50GB disc looking pretty good. Colors look fantastic and black levels are perfect. Detail is almost consistently impressive and there’s solid depth and texture here as well. This transfer really does look very strong, showing no noticeable print damage while retaining the expected amount of film grain. The image is sharp and clean without looking digitally processed, though there might have been some light DNR applied as skin can look just slightly waxy. Overall though, it looks quite good.

    DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo tracks are available, in English, with optional subtitles available in English only. The 5.1 track is the better of the more engaging option as it spreads the effects around nicely and quite effectively – the score too. Dialogue is clean and concise, it is always easy to understand. The levels are nicely balanced and there’s a decent low end when the movie calls for it. No problems here, the movie sounds very good.

    There’s a bunch of new extra features here starting with an audio commentary featuring director Mary Lambert moderated by Justin Beahm. Lambert makes it clear that she’s still very proud of the film and they talk about how the film ‘getting some love’ is long overdue. She notes straight up that her intention was to play up the crazy energy of teenage boys and the dark humor in the story and how people didn’t really get it when the movie came out. She talks about why King didn’t want any involvement in the sequel, how happy she was to get Furlong for the picture, working with the less experienced Jason McGuire, how lucky she feels she was to get both Anthony Edwards and Clancy Brown in the film (she’s a big Highlander fan!), her work shooting music videos before shifting to feature work, how she prefers to collaborate with her cast and crew rather than just give orders, her personal approach to storytelling, dealing with the animal trainers on set and how important it was to her that no animals get hurt on the film. She also talks about the relationships that the younger actors had with the older cast members and with each other, some of the locations that were used, what it was like shooting in Georgia, the differences between shooting on a soundstage and shooting outdoors and the importance of having a Waffle House nearby when making a movie! It’s a genuinely interesting track full of information and fun stories.

    From there we jump into the featurettes starting with the fourteen-minute Young And Brooding, which is an interview with Edward Furlong. He talks about his role in T2 and then getting the part on this film, the pressure that he was under at this point in his life due to what was required, how he got along with the cast and crew, his thoughts on Lambert as well as on the feature itself. Next, Clancy Brown gets twenty-one-minute in front of the camera in Playing Over The Top. He speaks about how he got into the business and about some of his notable early roles before then talking about his work on Pet Sematary Two. He also talks about the effects work in the film, the violence factor and more. Make sure you watch this one all the way through, it's really fun. My First Film is a twenty-four-minute interview with Jason McGuire, who covers how he got into acting, landing the part in the film in his home state of Georgia, working with a big star like Anthony Edwards, his impressions of the set and the shoot and more. Special effects artist Steve Johnson appears in the sixteen-minute A Thousand Dollar Bet to share his affection for Stephen King’s work and to talk about having to work on two other pictures at the same time he was doing this one, the stress that he was under, some of tough parts of the job on this shoot and a little wager he had with Brown that leads to the title of this featurette. Last but not, least hear from composer Mark Governor in the half-hour Orchestrated Grunge featurette. He talks about loving both movies and music as a kid, and how this fostered an interest in both in him at a young age before then going on to tell some stories about how he got into the business, working with Roger Corman, getting to work with Lambert on this feature and how he tried to do something different with the music in this picture.

    Rounding out the extra features is a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. This release also comes packaged with a slipcover and some nice reversible cover art.

    Pet Sematary Two – The Final Word:

    Pet Sematary Two is a pretty entertaining follow up to a far more serious original picture. Worth seeing for the practical effects work and Brown’s performance alone, it’s a fun and fairly gory popcorn film. It isn’t deep, but it’s a good time at the movies and Scream Factory has done an excellent job bringing it to Blu-ray. The presentation is top notch and the extras are abundant and interesting.

    Click on the images below for full sized Pet Sematary Two Blu-ray screen caps!