Pet Sematary is packed with hidden meanings, changes to the source material and Easter eggs that hint to the larger King universe and throughout this, I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about the movie’s plot and ending.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know what happens then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way, thanks for clicking the video and let’s dive into my Ending Explained Breakdown Of Pet Sematary!
Pet Sematary 2019 Plot Synopsis
Pet Sematary opens with the Creed family home in ruins and instantly the film lets you know that this isn’t going to be a happy ending.
This sets the tone for the film going forward and we flashback to the Creeds driving to their new family home located on the outskirts of a forest in Ludlow. Isn’t it weird how most Horror movies start with a family driving somewhere? You’ve got Us, The Shining, The Evil Dead etc etc. Look, next time you want to go somewhere, just stop the car, turn around and go back.
Anyway the Creeds are made up of Father Louis, Mother Rachel, Daughter Ellie, Son Gage and cat Church who may I just say is the best actor in this entire film.
We learn that Rachel is haunted by the death of her sister who suffered from a degenerative spinal disease that twisted her bones and left her bed bound. Rachel’s sister Zelda used to taunt her by saying that one day she too would get the disease and this terrified her to the point that she was too scared to take food up to her room. One day, when Rachel was left alone, she sent food up in a dumb waiter, however, the lift broke and Zelda tried to climb in to get it, causing the elevator to collapse and killing herself in the process. Rachel lives with the guilt of this accident and has been psychologically scarred to the point that she is unable to discuss death openly.
Pet Sematary Themes And ‘The Road’
The death of Rachel’s sister and Zelda’s clear dislike for her sets up the motif of a deceased family member coming back to haunt the one who caused their death and this plays into the film’s ending heavily which I’ll get into later.
Anyway, The Creeds Live near and exetremly dangerous road that Large Semi Trucks often speed along with little regard for the homes that pepper the road.
There’s a lot of foreshadowing of this and Creed, who is an ER Doctor one day has a patient rushed into his surgery that has been hit by a car on campus grounds. The patient named Victor is pretty mangled with his bones and brains hanging out and unfortunately, he passes away due to his injuries.
Louis is haunted by Victor who seems to be trying to warn him to not break the barrier between the living and dead. This highlights that spiritually the town has something up with it and these ghosts those unable to inhabit bodies definitely exists within the area.
The Death And Return Of Church
On Halloween, Louis finds his cat dead by the side of the road and with advice from Jud, his neighbour, he decides not to tell his daughter. Instead informing her that the cat merely ran away.
Jud who has grown close to Ellie tells Louis that they should bury the cat at night and in the dark hours of the morning the two venture up to The Pet Sematary located in the woods near the home. Jud, desperate to not see Ellie’s heartbroken by the death tells Louis of a place further in the forest and the two go there and bury the cat.
The next day, Church returns and after getting some bat Catittitude from him, Louis finds out that the ground is a place, located on Sacred Native American Lands, saying that cos I can’t say Indian, that was used to bring back the dead.
A Wendigo is said to haunt there and the Native Americans ended up having to move because the ground went sour.
Now we never see the Wendigo but there’s definitely something there that can be heard moving in the dark and it’s altogether pretty creepy.
For those who don’t know The Wendigo is a major villain in Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and also the novelisation of Pet Sematary. The Wendigo is a demon worshipped by Native American Tribes.
It’s steeped in King’s work and if The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon a family that go Hiking run into the creature. If that book is ever adapted I can see it picking up with the one from this film.
The Death Of Ellie
Anyway, Back at home Ellie begins locking her door at night so Church can’t get in and when Louis finds the cat in Gage’s crib about to attack him he decides that Dead is probably better.
Louis goes to put the Cat down but after it gives him puss in boots eyes he decides to take it far up the road and leave it. There are some warning signs here not to trespass and this could perhaps hint that there are other parts in the area that have been purposely cordoned off due to their ability to raise the dead.
Anyway, life seems to return to normal and the family throw a 9th birthday party for Ellie who still misses her cat. When playing hide and seek she runs near the road and after seeing Church walking down it decides to run out into the middle of it.
Gage follows her but he clearly doesn’t GAUGE the situation well and Louis has to run into the road to save him. Now this is where the movie differs slightly from the original and the source material as in that it was Gage who died whereas here he is saved and the semi truck disconnects from its cargo which rams into Ellie.
Overall I think it’s actually a better choice to have Ellie die as they do some fantastic makeup effects with her and with the girl being slightly older she’s able to talk more and be a more threatening force.
Anyway, Ellie is killed, they hold a funeral and Rachel and Gage go to stay at her parents. Louis, award that Jud will try to stop him if he brings Ellie back, goes over to his house, Cardi B’s him and takes Ellie up to the Pet Sematary where she returns in the dead of night.
Clearly she’s messed up but Louis looks past it all due to the grief. Rachel and Gage drive home and pass through Derry which some Ling Fans may recognise.
In case you don’t, Derry is the town in which Pennywise The Clown lives and it’s the setting of IT, so this is a nice little reference to the larger king world.
Anyway, Rachel arrives home, horrified at her daughters return and Louis leaves the house to discover that Jud has been murdered by Ellie.
They do an awesome fake out on the Achilles heel stab before bringing it back in and fans of the original will love this call back.
Pet Sematary Ending Explained
At this time Ellie has went into full rampage mode and she is able to catch her mother off guard due to her psychosis and believing that it is her sister Zelda haunting her.
Ellie murders her mother but Rachel is able to pass Gage out to Louis who locks him in the car in order to keep him safe.
Ellie knocks Louis out and drags her mother up to the Pet Sematary and on her return from burying her is attacked by Louis who attempts to kill her but hesitates when she tells him that they can still be a family.
It’s at this point that Louis is stabbed through the back by a reanimated Rachel and the two drags his body up to the Sematary to bring him back to life.
The film ends with the darkest King finale since The Mist with the family circling Gage in the car before unlocking it to probably murder him and bring him back as the undead.
Pet Sematary Analysis
Obviously there is a lot to take from this. Personally, I think the movie is a commentary on how grief can cause us to do out of character things that have the potential to lead to our own demise.
The family in the film are destroyed due to their inability to accept death and ultimately this leads to their downfall. They should be embracing all aspects of life but instead they only want the things that suits them and in the end this causes them to become a part of the undead.
Rachel cannot accept that she caused her sisters death and this shielding from the truth throughout the film causes the families downfall. This is about accepting life, no matter how short as a beautiful thing and not trying to subvert it in order to get our own twisted view of what reality should be.
As mentioned earlier, the film has several major differences from the book and in that it’s Gage who is killed and resurrected. The film also makes no mention of the last person who was resurrected by the burial ground, Timmy Baterman. After Baterman was buried, he came back as a malevolent zombie and terrorised the townsfolk before they tracked him down and killed him.
In the book Jud believed that a demon had possessed the corpse as when attempting to kill it, Baterman taunted them with indiscretions from their personal lives. Whilst there are hints that Ellie is possessed by something, this is never fully confirmed.
In the book, Louis returns to the burial ground after Gage kills her, under the notion that if he buries her faster than Gage then something better will happen. However, it’s hinted that this doesn’t change a thing and upon her return, there is definitely a sinister side to it.
Louis also kills Gage with a lethal injection whereas in the film the family are still alive, if you can call it that, at the end.
Pet Sematary Review
The first question you may have is ‘Is this better than the original film?’ Well you’ll be happy to hear that ,I think it surpasses the 1989 film in pretty much every way. The atmosphere is creepier, the acting is a lot better and the narrative changes definitely elevate the plot and make more sense here.
The second question that you may have is ‘Is this better than IT?’ Unfortunately not, at least in my opinion. Whilst the narrative is a lot better, the lack of a true villain here really makes it less engaging for me than IT. It feels rather run of the mill story wise and the movie misses out on certain chances to improve on the self containment of the original story.
Those who’ve seen the trailer will probably know the majority of plot beats here and it’s strange that so much was spoiled in the promotional material for the film. There are also certain plot points like Rachel’s sister that don’t really have any impact beyond being in the character’s heads and this feels like a slight missed opportunity.
The film is still very enjoyable though and it’s definitely worth checking out in cinemas.
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Pet Sematary and if you preferred this version or the original. Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure you check out my breakdown of The Twilight Zone new episodes which will be linked at the end.