Donna Trenton is a frustrated suburban housewife whose life is in turmoil after her husband learns about her having an affair. Brett Camber is a young boy whose only companion is a Saint-Bernard named "Cujo", who in turn is bitten by a rabid bat. Whilst Vic, Donna's husband is away on business, and thinking over his marital troubles, Donna and her 5-year-old son Tad take her Pinto to Brett Cambers' dad's car shop... the car fails, and "Cujo" is very, very sick...Written by
Miguel Cane <Stepford@yahoo.com>
1983 was a bit of a bumper year for cinematic versions of Stephen King novels. In that year alone we had Christine and The Dead Zone as well as Cujo. It would probably not be unfair to say that Cujo is the least good of the three but in all honesty there isn't a great deal in it, with all being pretty effective and nicely varied horror films. Out of those three, and unlike most King horror films in general, Cujo is not a supernatural horror movie and is based on a plausible idea. A woman and her young son become trapped in their broken down car in a remote junkyard when a St. Bernard dog, made rabid by a bite from an infected bat, lays siege to their vehicle in a murderous mood.
This one could be described as a high concept movie given the very basic nature of its set-up. In order to pad things out to feature length and to add some depth, we have quite a bit of character development in the first half of the movie, which focuses mainly on a dysfunctional family and the dramas that surround them. Once the action moves to the junkyard though, most of this is largely forgotten and the film essentially becomes an 'animal-attack' horror-thriller. Dee Wallace does some good work as the mother who has to deal with the trauma while having to comfort her young son, who it has to be said is involved in some pretty intense looking scenes which may have been quite full on for the young actor involved. But the scary scenes were often achieved by very clever editing, after all a St. Bernard is hardly the most threatening of beasts to base a horror movie on. The fast and clever edits do make this creature seem genuinely menacing. Less successful though was the soundtrack which compromised of a considerable amount of really terrible music which would have been better suited to a daytime TV melodrama than a suspenseful and thrilling feature film. But on the whole, this is a pretty decent and lean effort that gets the job done quite effectively.
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