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Pet Sematary's new trailer reveals a major change from Stephen King's book

On the heels of news that Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch’s Pet Sematary remake would close out this year’s SXSW festival, the anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s scariest book has received a new trailer. It’s a doozy, too, rich in the folk horror staples that flooded its first trailer—rituals, animal masks, cautionary wood carvings—and packed with trauma, tears, and the mangled spine of Zelda, one of the story’s most terrifying creations.

The trailer also demonstrates a pretty massive change from Stephen King’s source material, one that, you could argue, softens the book’s central gut-punch. But only slightly. Rather than spoil that here, though, let us cross our fingers for a cameo from the mythic Wendigo, a key part of King’s book that doesn’t factor into Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation. Not only do we see it in a book Jason Clarke and John Lithgow’s Louis and Jud peruse, but we also hear it as the pair traverse the North Ludlow Woods. Bring it.

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After premiering at SXSW, Pet Sematary will terrorize theaters with its scalpel on April 5.

UPDATE (8:45 A.M.): Entertainment Weekly has published an interview with the producers and filmmakers about this adaptation’s big change, which is—spoiler alert if you’re here and, for some reason, not watching the trailer—that it’s 8-year old Ellie Creed, not 3-year old Gage, who is killed by a roaring semi and brought back to life at the Micmac burial ground.

In the interview, Widmyer basically makes the case that there’s only so much you can do with a 3-year old killer, which, well, he’s not wrong. (And, seriously, where are you going to find another child actor as preternaturally gifted as Miko Hughes was in the 1989 adaptation?)

“Much of how they shot the first [movie] was a doll,” Widmyer said. “It’s creepy and it’s effective. But we’ve now seen Child’s Play and we’ve seen the little kid trying to kill, and it’s effective when done right, but…”

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He added, “There was something about an 8-year-old and the psychology that she would have. She would understand what happened to her on the road. She would understand that she’s dead. She would know how to not only physically kill a person, but psychologically destroy them as well. It just gave another layer to it.”

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.