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Credit: Paramount Pictures

Pet Sematary director expects R-rating for ‘[bleeping] dark’ adaptation

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Oct 10, 2018, 2:12 PM EDT

The upcoming Pet Sematary remake from the directors of Starry Eyes recently released its first terrifying trailer, tantalizing Stephen King fans with all the awful things the author put his characters through. Those kids are totally screwed, right? Well, yes, definitely, but what does that mean for the movie and its rating?

During Bloody Disgusting’s visit to the Pet Sematary set, they found out just how dark the new filmmakers were planning to go. Because the team of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer wanted to stick to the book, even closer than the 1989 original, it was always going to skew closer to King’s original horror than the camp of the first film.

“We worked with the writer to actually try and get closer to the book than what the original script was,” Widmyer said. “There was a lot of things in the book that we were always big fans of or things that didn’t even make it into the original movie that we always wanted to do in the movie and we worked hard to get those into the script.”

Pet Sematary poster

Fans might be poring over the book now, finding key differences between the source and its first adaptation in order to know what to look forward to. And Widmyer is keen on teasing: “We’ve refreshed some things, in the essence of the novel, but I would actually say that there might be more things from the novel that weren’t in the first movie that are gonna be in our thing. That everyone loves, fans love, that’s all I’ll say that are in the movie. That I’m shocked that they let us get away with.”

So it’s dark? “It’s a dark f***ing movie,” the co-director said. Yeah, that sounds dark. Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura elaborates, explaining how the spooky scenes translate to the MPAA ratings board. “I don’t see how it could not be rated R,” the producer said.

“Having tussled with the ratings boards more than I’d care to admit, when you have a child in jeopardy, which we have throughout this story, you’re automatically an R. I’ll say it this way also, we’ve never had a conversation with the studio about it being PG-13. My feeling about rating in general is I think some movies really demand one or the other. In this case, I think you let it be what it is. And so, I would tend to want it to be R.”

It was the most recent King adaptation to earn an R rating, and its delicious combination of gore, profanity, and dedication to its source material made it a smash hit. That formula may repeat itself when Pet Sematary returns to theaters in April.