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‘Pet Sematary’ Set to Close 2019 SXSW Film Festival

Pet Sematary FI
PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures

As it gears up for its 2019 edition, SXSW Film Festival has announced the new remake of “Pet Sematary” as its Closing Night film. The screening on March 17 will effectively serve as the film’s World Premiere, a smart decision to create buzz prior to its April 5 wide release.

Paramount’s new take on the 1989 horror classic is directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, and stars Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, and Amy Seimetz. Like the original movie, this retelling departs from Stephen King’s novel as adapted by screenwriters David Kajganich (“Suspiria”) and Jeff Buhler (“The Prodigy”).

Both filmmakers are well versed in the horror genre. Kolsch and Widmyer’s debut feature “Starry Eyes” dealt with otherworldly forces and also premiered at SXSW in 2014, so this is a homecoming of sorts for the directing duo.

In this version of “Pet Sematary,” Clarke plays Dr. Louis Creed, a man moving into a wooded area of Maine with his wife and children. Soon, the myth of a disturbing burial ground near their home comes to life in horrifying ways. Haunted by evil forces coming from deep in the woods, the family will have to understand what they are confronting if they stand any chance at survival.

In keeping with the genre theme, SXSW will open with Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated “Us” on March 6. Last year, the Austin-based served as launching pad for John Krasinski’s hit “A Quiet Place” and Steven Spielberg‘s “Ready Player One,” quickly becoming a prime event to test and promote winter/spring-slated studio releases.

Take a look at the trailer below:

Will you be watching this new version of the cult classic? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Paramount will release “Pet Sematary” on April 5, 2019.

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Written by Carlos Aguilar

Originally from Mexico City, Carlos Aguilar was chosen as one of 6 young film critics to partake in the first Roger Ebert Fellowship organized by, the Sundance Institute and Indiewire in 2014. Aguilar’s work has appeared in prestigious publications such as The Wrap, Indiewire, Vulture,, MovieMaker Magazine, Remezcla Filmmaker Magazine, Variety Latino, Slate, Bustle, Americas Quarterly, among others.

Besides his work in journalism, Aguilar regularly works as a screener for the Sundance Film Festival and a screenplay reader for Sundance’s Screenwriters Lab. Carlos Aguilar has also been on the jury at renowned festivals such the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Gasparilla International Film Festival, the Louisiana International Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Indian Film Festival.

Aguilar currently co-hosts, One Week Only, a weekly podcast highlighting independent and international cinema. He also regularly participates in panel discussions about the importance of people of color in film criticism and his experience as a DACA recipient working in the film industry.


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