Prequel to the 2019 Stephen King adaptation, the 2023 Paramonunt+ horor film, Pet Sematary: Bloodlines delves into the history of Ludlow, Maine. The year is 1969, and a majority of American youth are deployed in Vietnam. Jud Crandall and his girlfriend, Norma, had finally decided to leave Ludlow to start a new life. The couple had planned to join the Peace Corps. Jud was the first of his family to step out of the small town, and his parents had mixed feelings about it. Ludlow was a cursed town, and they were glad that their son would finally leave, but at the same time, it was not easy for them to let go of their only son. The day of their departure finally arrived, and Jud and Norma were ecstatic. But suddenly, while driving out of town, a bird flew into the windshield, and they discovered Battermans’ dog, Hendrix, seated in the middle of the road. There was something wrong with the dog, and the young couple decided to safely walk him back to his home. Jud and Norma did not know what awaited them, and it was only the beginning of the chaos.
Who was Timmy?
Timmy, Jud, and Manny used to be the best of friends as teenagers, but gradually the three drifted apart. Timmy went to Vietnam to serve his country; Jud was with Norma and planned on joining the Peace Corps, and Manny started to feel left out. Upon reaching Battermans’ house, Jud noticed Timmy standing behind the door. He looked different—his face was dull, and his eyes were lifeless. Timmy resented Jud because he would never understand the pain and suffering he had to live through. While Timmy was forced to leave his house and join the war, Jud’s father paid the doctor and proved him medically unfit. Timmy realized that he and Jud were not the same, and he grew bitter about it.
The eerie feeling made Jud and Norma want to leave, but suddenly Hendrix came out of the blue and bit into Norma’s arm. Jud was shocked to see Timmy stand calmly by the front door. Jud drove Norma to the hospital, and thankfully, she survived the attack. Jud could not get his mind off how strange Timmy’s behavior was, and he met Manny to discuss the situation. Manny added that his sister, Donna, too, felt that Timmy had changed. She saw him repeating names, and he did not seem like his usual self. Jud decided to visit Timmy once again to understand what was going on. But this time, Timmy’s father, Bill, refused to allow Jud to meet his son. While Jud tried to figure out what was wrong with his best friend, Timmy made a list of people he wanted to murder, and both Jud and his father, Dan, were on it.
What Was The History Behind Ludlow?
Gradually, in Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, we find out that Timmy had died in the war, and his body was returned to Bill. He could not cope with the death of his son, and he chose to feed the evil over accepting his son’s death. The ancient burial ground resurrected bodies; it was said that the soil was evil, and the body offered to it was swallowed by hell. First Nations buried their deceased pets close to the woods to protect themselves from evil spirits. Jud’s ancestor was one of the first few settlers in Ludlow, and he built the deadfall to block the path to the woods to keep everyone safe. The mouth of hell present in the woods was said to whisper into the ears of those who were most vulnerable.
In 1674, a man named Ludlow was in charge of finding fertile land, and he wrote a letter stating that he found it. But upon reaching there, the commander and his men found that the land was abandoned by the natives, and there was something spooky about the place. Eventually, Ludlow was found in a monster-like condition, and he attacked and killed most of the men. It was said that Ludlow was buried in the evil soil even though the Mi’kmaq Chief warned Ludlow’s men not to do so, and it resulted in a disaster that scarred the town forever. From then on, the survivors formed a pact and vowed to protect the land from evil.
All Bill wanted was to have his son back, and even though he knew the history, he convinced himself that his son would not cause any harm. Timmy targeted Manny’s sister, Donna, when she was alone at home. She tried to remind him of the good old days, but Timmy was not the boy she once knew. He had turned into a bloodthirsty monster controlled by the voices. He needed to feed the mouths in the woods and convert as many people as he could. As an indigenous artist, Donna had dreams of leaving the small town and meeting more like-minded people, but that never happened. Donna was ultimately murdered and buried in the ancient burial ground, and she turned into a monster just like Timmy.
The First Nations knew about the threat, and they did all that was in their power to secure the adjoining land, but as the foreign settlers arrived, they stopped caring about the history of the land, and that resulted in more conversions and deaths. Even though the threat was brought under control, the fear of the ominous continued to torment the older generation of the town. After all, people tend to get carried away by their emotions, and the prospect of bringing their loved ones back to life could be impossible to resist.
How Did The Town Of Ludlow Fight Against Their New Monster?
Donna single-handedly murdered nearly everyone at the hospital where Norma was admitted. She attempted to choke Norma, but soon, we find out at the end of Pet Sematary: Bloodlines that Donna did not kill Norma; she was buried alive. Bill realized he had made a terrible mistake and agreed to support Dan to put an end to the madness. After visiting the hospital, Jud realized that Norma was either killed or kidnapped. Jud accompanied his father as he entered Bill’s house, and Manny went along with them to find his sister. Timmy started to take down one person after another (Chief M’ikmaq and Majorie) swiftly, and he lit fire to destroy anyone who dared to challenge him. Meanwhile, Donna walked up to her brother. She attacked him, but Manny refused to hurt her. Dan came to his rescue, but Donna got to him. Manny pulled the trigger on his sister, realizing that she was long gone. Bill showed Jud and Manny the way to the cellar room, and they noticed a tunnel was dug out. Bill believed it was something that Timmy had recently done. They split to find out where it led.
During Pet Sematary: Bloodlines‘ ending, Timmy murders his father, and Jud and Manny follow him to the woods. Manny got stuck in a trap, making it impossible for him to move. Jud handed him the flare gun to call for help in case he did not return. As soon as Jud walked into the swamp, Timmy grabbed hold of him and attempted to drown him. Manny watched Jud struggle from a distance. He pointed the flare gun at Timmy and shot him in the eye. Meanwhile, Norma, with sheer determination and willpower, managed to free herself, and she reunited with Jud. That night, Manny lost his sister, and Jud lost his father. They also had to cope with the death of their best friend, Timmy.
Jud and Norma decide to stay back in Ludlow at the end of Pet Sematary: Bloodlines. As part of the new generation, they believed it was now their duty to protect the people of Ludlow from evil. The diary that has been passed on from generation to generation in the Crandall family now belongs to Jud. He takes up his father’s habit of sitting on the porch with a cigarette in hand. Perhaps he can now relate to his father all the more. He had seen how terrible things can get, and his once cheerful self was now lost. Donna always hoped for Manny to leave Ludlow, and since he no longer had any reason to stay back, he decided to do what his sister wanted. The unparalleled joy on Manny’s face revealed how glad he was to finally leave the evil town.