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Alexandre Aja Circling ‘Pet Sematary’ Remake

Written by on August 2, 2011 

“Sometimes,” Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) said in Pet Sematary, “dead is better.” Paramount doesn’t seem to think that’s the case here. Matt Greenberg (1408) has been working on a script for a remake of the film since March 2010, and now Twitch Film reports the studio is turning to Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja to helm the project.

The original Pet Sematary (1989), based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, tells the story of the Creed family and their new neighbor, Jud Crandall. When the family cat is struck by a car, Jud tells Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) about a nearby pet cemetery, built over ancient Micmac Indian burial grounds, that brings the dead back to life. When the resurrected cat comes home, he reeks of decomposition and acts strange, but after Louis’s toddler son wanders into the road and is killed by a speeding truck, none of that matters as much as having his child back. Of course, things can never be quite the same after that.

It would be hard to assemble a better pair for this project than Aja and Greenberg. Aja is no stranger to remaking classic horror films, and his 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes was largely well-received by genre fans and fans of the original, though mainstream critical reception was mixed. He hasn’t officially signed on for Pet Sematary yet, but with his next film, Cobra: The Space Pirate, not set to begin shooting until 2013, he should be able to fit this into his schedule as long as Paramount can get the ball rolling soon.

Greenberg scripted a King adaptation once before with 1408. Originally a short story, his film version went on to take second place at the box office in its opening weekend and now carries a 78% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

As a huge fan of the cheeseball original, I’m not immediately excited about what will undoubtedly become a gritty, gory Pet Sematary remake. With Aja and Greenberg on board, though, the project is certainly moving in a promising direction.

Will Pet Sematary be the classic horror remake genre fans want, or the one that they deserve?

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