[FearScale] Just How Scary is Pet Sematary? Live Heart Rate Breakdown

Mixed reactions tend to surround Stephen King novels when they make their way to the big screen. When we heard about the remake to one of his creepier screen adaptations, we were skeptical… that is until we saw the trailer and blurbs began to bubble on how terrifying this new re-imagining would be. We enlisted the help of a test subject with a mild case of gatophobia, or fear of cats, to wear a hospital grade heart monitor in the theater. Could Pet Sematary (2019) bring our subject’s heart rate to life or would the film leave her dead and buried?

What is FearScale? We’ve all heard the expression ‘Scared to Death’ or how something ‘Made My Heart Skip a Beat’, but what does that actually look like? Studies have shown that even when subjected to stimuli that can not present a true threat of danger, our bodies will still produce a physiological response. By analyzing real-time results we are able to give you the most accurate reviews for anything that makes your heart race.


Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his neighbour Jud Crandall, setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences.



Test Subject: Tanya

Age : 40

Gender: Female

Fears: Cats



Our subject, was mildly familiar with the 1989 version of Pet Sematary. She remembered being terrified as a child and became jittery with anticipation during the opening credits. She was immediately teased with an abrupt jolt which sent her pulse to 70bpm. A cringe-worthy moment at 16:00 caused her first true recordable numbers at 79bpm. Sadly, many of the scenes that followed were cut too short for much tension to build. A major plot point arriving late in the film at 53:00 built enough stress to bring our subject to her peak heart rate of 88bpm. As the movie continued to unfold, our subject often seemed underwhelmed by the scripted scares. There were plenty of forced jump scares but they lacked the lead time to induce anxiety.




This re-imagining of Pet Sematary received the Hollywood touch. Perfect lighting, flawless makeup, and visibly spooky sets created an eerie but almost artificial atmosphere. The film was unable to get under our subject’s skin as it did when she was a child. Only a couple of times was our subject fooled by the filmmakers attempt to twist the expected. Even though our subject’s average beats per minute remained below active heart rate levels, she was still able to burn 185 calories. The film had brief moments reminiscent of the classic but if we’ve learned anything from Jud Crandall, Sometimes… an original is better.

Pet Sematary burns an average of 185 Calories

One fillet of fried battered catfish: 182 Calories


How many Fear Calories did you burn watching Pet SemataryLet us know on TwitterReddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook! And – check out our previous Fear Scale results for live scare breakdowns of your favorite films!



Latest Reviews