The latter assumption is supported by bland performances by David Duchovny and Pam Grier as townspeople burdened with an ancestral curse. The only real uptick in the movie comes from Forrest Goodluck (“The Revenant,” “How to Blow Up a Pipe”), who plays Judd’s other childhood friend Manny. A brief recollection of the boys secretly drinking beers in a treehouse does little to establish the purported lifelong bond that Goodluck’s character (along with his sister Donna, played by Isabelle LaBlanc) seems to have been written into Incorporated into the film to add authenticity to the Aboriginal legends in King’s novel. But he’s the best actor in this movie and we’re lucky to have him.
The muddy night photography adds to the mood of waiting at the bus stop in the afternoon, wondering if it’s going to rain, and oh look, a zombie dog. hehe. But what really kills Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is the editing. Bill, best known for creating the Netflix romantic comedy Sierra Burgess is a Loser, is new to the horror genre. But unlike some first-time horror directors, she doesn’t display an intuitive knack for suspense or timing. As a result, the film struggles on both a macro and micro level. In other words, even the jump scares don’t work, leaving only a slight but sudden jolt of brutal carnage to keep the audience awake.
Some of it is brutal enough to temporarily jolt Bloodline out of its stupor, and there are some good ideas buried in the script. One is a brief flashback to 1674, the land that would one day become Ludlow; it turns out that the earth was poisoned from the beginning, and the arrival of white settlers only accelerated the spread of evil . Somehow the film is more convincingly set in 1674 than in 1969, and the ideas presented in this brief excerpt are more compelling than those that make up the core narrative. But then it was buried and never came back. Sadly, that’s when a resurrection would have helped.