When watching the second trailer for the Pet Sematary reboot, a couple of things immediately jump out to fans of the Stephen King novel upon which the movie is based. First, it seems a lock that the adventures of the Creed family as they move to rural Maine, only to experience untold horror thanks to a nearby ancient burial ground, will be far more unsettling than the original adaptation.
Secondly, and more noteworthy, is that it appears directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer have made a major change from Stephen King's 1983 novel, with the child who returns from the dead being the family's daughter, Ellie, and not the toddler, Gage.
The first Pet Sematary trailer alluded to Gage being the child killed and eventually buried by the family's patriarch, good ol' doctor Louis (Jason Clarke), just as in the original book. That's because we saw shots of the iconic truck while the dad screamed the boy's name, not to mention creepy visuals of Gage (Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie) and the signature scalpel he used to commit his murders in the novel. But the second trailer reveals that was all a misdirection.
It's now obvious Ellie (Jeté Laurence) is the one who dies, confirming a Reddit leaker's claim from a few months ago. At 1:38, we see the legs of a young girl in a dress dragging across the family's dining room, with Louis' wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) clearly petrified. As the girl drops her masks, Louis ominously exclaims, "Hug your daughter," more or less confirming Ellie returns from the dead as a zombie. As chaos proceeds to erupt in the family's home, we see baby Gage alive and well in his crib, another indication that Ellie will be the one to bite the dust.
Gage's role as the zombie added a scare factor to the original film, but the directors' approach to the remake is clearly geared towards something a bit more suspenseful than a reanimated toddler on the loose. The new trailer highlights this approach, its sharp editing showing quite a few sequences featuring a young girl haunting and attacking the Creeds, as well as John Lithgow's Jud Crandall. Sure, it could any one of the village kids we've seen masked up in both trailers, but all evidence so far points to Ellie, especially the sequence featuring a young female's contorted body, bones protruding out of her back, getting ready to pounce on Rachel.
Of course, this could all be a bait and switch, clever editing making us think it's Ellie now, when these attackers could well and truly be the adolescent disciples who perform their rituals at the the graveyard. But shifting the killer to Ellie would make a lot more sense; she's the one who finds the cemetery in this new film, perhaps hinting the demonic presence does latch onto her first. It stands to reason it'd want to pull her soul in, which is why it's her cat, Church, that gets killed in the first place.
It's also worth nothing that the trailer shows Church as a sinister guardian, indicating that it may be protecting Ellie as an avatar of the undead. It'd be a fresh take on the mythos, and one that feels organic because the connection both shared in life could ideally shape them as killers in the afterlife.
Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, Pet Sematary stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo and Lucas Lavoie, and John Lithgow. The adaptation of the Stephen King novel opens April 5.