PET GRAVEYARD * UK 2019 Dir: Rebecca Matthews. 100 mins
Fear not…despite obvious appearances (including a Sphynx cat, barely in the movie itself, acting as poster boy) this isn’t a terrible PET SEMATARY rip-off. It’s a terrible rip-off of both FLATLINERS and FINAL DESTINATION cunningly disguised as a terrible PET SEMATARY rip-off in time for the remake. Thanks to pedestrian pacing, laptop exposition and a particularly low-rent representation of the Grim Reaper (who must be furious), this almost manages to make you reconsider your opinion on the godawful FLATLINERS remake. (Almost). Unfolding in a modern vision of London where almost everybody has painfully phoney American accents, student nurse Jessica O’Toole discovers her daredevil brother’s involvement with a small online community of people keen to “brink”. Brinking involves killing yourself and returning from the dead via an online ritual – after having enjoyed a taste of the afterlife. The initially disapproving O’Toole takes about three minutes to be talked into joining them thanks to her intense grief (*Dead Mum Backstory Alert*), and soon malevolent versions of the dearly departed in addition to portentous visits from a cloaked, chuckling figure spell their imminent doom. PET GRAVEYEARD is torpedoed early on by its own talky, ponderous script – thanks to which the amateur actors actually have to say things like “We brink death” and (hold the phone!) “Brink on to the other side”. It’s creaky beyond words and there’s probably not a less sympathetic bunch of characters in a horror movie this year. In fact, it’s enough to make you brink yourself and take out a whole bunch of brinkers in the process.
Review by Steven West