Pet Semetary: Bloodlines | Review by: Amanda Guarragi
With Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, Lindsey Anderson Beer created a prequel surrounding the founding families of Ludlow, Maine. The film is set in 1969, and Jud Crandall (Jackson White) is at the centre of this story. He was the old neighbour in Pet Sematary who warned the Creed family about the highway that ran past their house. The score booms loudly in the beginning as Anderson Beer places Bill Baterman (David Duchovny) in the cemetery at night while dragging a body with his dog Hendrix by his side. The moon was full. And the body he buried came alive and took the dog with him. Jud was ready to go to the Peace Corps with his girlfriend Norma (Natalie Alyn Lind) when a bird crashed into their windshield. They notice Hendrix in front of the nose of the car, and the dog looks filthy. They return Hendrix to his owners, the Batermans, only to find that Timmy Baterman (Jack Mulhern) had returned from Vietnam. At first, they think something is off because of his PTSD, but it isn’t until Hendrix takes a bite out of Norma's arm that Jud sees Timmy differently.
Jud’s father, Dan Crandall (Henry Thomas), insisted that his son leave Ludlow because he knew what was lurking around the corner. Dan never told Jud that he was one of the founding families because of what came with protecting the people of Ludlow. Bloodlines is a prequel that addresses the sins of the father who disturbed the peace. Anderson Beer integrated flashbacks seamlessly to show the history of the town. Whether it was showing Timmy, Manny (Forrest Goodluck) and Jud’s childhood friendship or the settlers who overtook the Mi’kmaq Chief's land, these were vital pieces to the story. The land where the animals were buried in the spiral was originally for their spirits to watch over the people. Someone buried Ludlow there, and it took a turn for the worse. The settlers found him chewing on someone's intestines with blood dripping down his face. Anderson Beer focused more on the early stages of the lore for the founder's children to understand the consequences.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is a well-built prequel that adds more depth to the original story. Anderson Beer, also a co-writer for the film, placed her characters on the most natural path to retell their legacy. Jud and Dan Crandall become more similar because of Jud’s predestined place in Ludlow. However, once they all come together in the third act to take down Timmy, the action is not executed organically because there needs to be a way to set up Jud to take Dan's place. The suspense and build-up of the demise of Timmy and the decision his father Bill had to make to put him down made the opening of the third act promising. But, the ending felt rushed and convenient to place Jud in his rightful position to fulfill his duty to Ludlow, Maine. The commentary about being stuck in a generational cycle is prevalent, and wanting to break free is what many in small towns seek. But, for Jud and Norma, their compassion to help their townspeople becomes more significant after the events of that night.
Review by: Amanda Guarragi
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