Warning: Major spoilers for Pet Sematary: Bloodlines below!
- Pet Sematary: Bloodlines expands on an important chapter from Stephen King’s novel, cautioning against using the burial ground to bring back the dead
- The prequel reveals that Jud and his family are descendants of Ludlow’s founders, who formed a pact to stop the spreading sickness caused by the burial ground. The Wendigo’s spirit possesses the dead and do its bidding.
- The Wendigo’s influence on Jud’s mind could explain his actions in King’s novel and the 2019 film. After witnessing the monsters the “sour” ground brings back, the chipping away of Jud’s defenses might have led him to believe using the burial ground for something positive was a good idea.
A key quote from Pet Sematary: Bloodlines might explain a plot hole from Stephen King’s original novel and the movie adaptations that followed. While King wasn’t keen on 1992 sequel Pet Sematary Two as it wasn’t based on any of his own writing, he’s given his endorsement to 2023 prequel Bloodlines. That’s because this latest installment adapts an important chapter from his1983 novel, where Jud Crandall recounts the sad tale of Timmy Batterman, a Ludlow local who was killed in combat and resurrected in the “sour ground” of the titular cemetery.
This chapter is a cautionary tale against using the burial ground to bring a person back, as they return as twisted, evil versions of their former selves. Bloodlines greatly expands on this passage and the backstory of the town, revealing that Jud and his family are descendants of the founders of Ludlow. Pet Sematary: Bloodlines‘ ending also reveals Jud decided to stay in town after the bloody events of the story to keep vigil over the cemetery, which makes his actions in the 2019 movie – and by extension the book – all the more baffling.
Jud’s Father Reveals That The Darkness Feeds On Minds That Fight Back Less
The prequel explains that the descendants of Ludlow’s founders formed a pact to stop “the sickness” caused by the burial ground from spreading beyond the town. Pet Sematary: Bloodlines cast regular Stephen King alum Henry Thomas as Jud’s father Dan, who tells him the evil in the woods gets into people’s heads and “messes with their minds,” but that it prefers the dead as they “put up less of a struggle.” The people who return from the dead – like Timmy in Bloodlines or Ellie (Jeté Laurence) in the 2019 Pet Sematary – are essentially possessed by the Wendigo’s spirit and do its malevolent bidding.
The Wendigo’s Hunting Targets Explains Pet Sematary’s Jud Plot Hole
While Dan’s line reveals why the dead are so susceptible to the “darkness,” it could also explain Jud’s actions in the book and film adaptations. After the events of Bloodlines, where Jud sees his former best friend become an undead monster responsible for multiple deaths, it’s unbelievable he would risk kicking off another chain of bloodshed in the 2019 film. Yet, this is what he does when he tells Louis (Jason Clarke) about the cemetery’s reviving powers so they can bring Ellie’s beloved cat Church back to life.
While the deceased might be the most vulnerable to Ludlow’s evil forces, after 50 years in town and losing all his loved ones, it makes sense that Jud (John Lithgow) would become vulnerable too. Across the decades, this force could have chipped away at his mind and used him to lure further victims to the graveyard. In the book, there was never a concrete reason for Jud telling Louis about the cemetery given what he knows about its effects on the resurrected.
This makes even less sense after the prequel, where Jud witnessed firsthand the monsters the “sour ground” spits out. That said, Jud’s actions could be forgiven somewhat by Pet Sematary: Bloodlines‘ explanation of the Wendigo’s influence on his mind, with the being slowly chipping away at his defenses until the thought of using the burial ground for something positive sounded like a good idea.