Attending my first movie screening as a student journalist

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I arrived at Pacific Theatres located in The Grove, an outdoor shopping mall in Los Angeles, 30 minutes before showtime. A large crowd occupied the lobby and was split into two groups that I couldn’t differentiate due to my nerves.

Instincts brought me to guest services where the man in charge gave me a puzzled look. I told him I was there as press for the “Pet Sematary” advanced movie screening but I had a hard time articulating it.

It was weird. It was less about me being nervous and more about self-consciously not wanting to sound narcissistic.

Once he understood my dilemma he directed me towards a table which had a small line in front of it–compared to the massive line of people confined by rope barriers that took up a majority of the space.

I’ve been going to the cinema for as long as I can remember, it’s what I like to do, but for some reason, I felt like I was out of my element.

My anxiety did not settle once I was in line. I observed the people in front of me somewhat intimidated. They did not feel like my peers.

Upon arriving at the media check-in desk, I immediately spouted my name–in hopes of convincing myself I belonged.

The person checking for names told me they could not find me on the list.

I explained I was a student journalist and someone from the marketing team at Paramount Pictures reached out to our publication.

There were three people behind the desk and I was told the woman at the left-end side might be able to help me. My name was on the top of her list and relief never felt so good.

I took a moment to stop before walking through the theater door, I wanted to take it all in.

This is what I’ve been waiting to do. Covering film and entertainment is the reason why I chose to become a journalist.

I couldn’t believe after one year of journalism at El Camino College, I was already getting a taste of my dream job.

Suddenly everything paid off. Those late nights I spent writing my first articles, the copious amount of caffeine that sustained me while gathering sources, the discouragement I felt when people rejected interviews—all worth it.

The movie started about 10 minutes late but once the lights dimmed, I felt a rush of excitement. “I’ve earned this,” I thought to myself.

“Pet Sematary” is based off a Stephen King novel with the same name. It is centered around a family that moves to the backwoods of Maine, next to a highway.

Every aspect of its location played a critical role in the story told. The foreshadowing done by speeding cars almost hitting characters evoked a sense of dread.

The moonlit rural setting painted an eerie atmosphere upon introduction of the burial grounds, which would later be used to advance the plot.

The film established its tone early: the dialogue between characters directly touched upon the story’s themes of death and grief.

Jeté Laurence who played Ellie Creed, daughter of Louis and Rachel Creed, gave a stand out performance. She perfectly captured the innocent curiosity of a child during the conversations of morality between Ellie and her father Louis, played by Jason Clarke.

The pacing was solid for most of the movie and it didn’t drag to get to its premise of breaking past death’s barrier.

After being found dead on the highway–the family’s cat named Church gets resurrected via the ancient burial ground and movie magic.

The newly revitalized cat became hostile and intrusive towards the family, instantly becoming a crowd favorite.

The audience chuckled numerous times during some of the film’s dire moments as the film was filled with unintentional dark comedy.

Unfortunately, it abandoned its steady pace around the last 10 minutes–sprinting to the climax with an unsatisfying closure.

The unnerving atmosphere that was built up went to waste as it quickly transitioned into typical slasher horror movie tropes.

Although the film had a stale conclusion, my night ended in satisfaction as I left the theater in triumph. I couldn’t believe it, I just finished my first movie screening as a journalist.



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