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>
A St. Bernard dog is playfully chasing a rabbit, but when the dog decides to pop its head into a burrow it's bitten by a rabies-infected bat and slowly over time it becomes a maliciously uncontrolled mutt. Which, it turns on its owner and also terrorises that of a unfaithful women and her son that came to get their vehicle repaired, but only to be trapped in their broken down car with rabid dog outside trying to get to them.
Beethoven yep, I just couldn't stop thinking of the lovable Beethoven when watching this flick. That was one of my childhood favourites, but I guess it isn't going to be quite the same when I come across it again. I won't look a Beethoven the same way again. Anyhow, this is one of the King's better-made adaptations. Although, it's a long way from brilliant, it delivers a stable amount of interest and tension to proceedings. This was my second viewing of it and it has hardly lost any of that full-blooded impact it generated, especially the heart racing standoff between the dog and the trapped victims. I wouldn't be surprise that you don't think your watching a horror film to begin with, as the opening basis centres around a family melodrama, raising martial issues and work commitments. It kind of comes across as cheesy in its supposed sentiment in those moments.
Then it kicks into gear with the slow beginning making way for a crackerjack final 40 minutes of simple confined tension built around isolation. It also doesn't hold back on the vicious dog attacks with ample ferocity and raw suspense being belted out. Watching people being mauled apart by this giant scuffed up dog wasn't that pleasant at all. The gore effects were more than adequate and it looked the part of a rabid dog perfectly. But you couldn't help but feel sorry for the dog, as it's more of a victim then the people who he's terrorising. Honestly I cared more for the misunderstood pooch than the initial victims. The characters weren't entirely likable, with the exception of one or two, but I didn't connect with them in this mess. The story is simple and plays it straight, but that doesn't mean it avoids the familiar clichés. Although, it doesn't entirely hurt the film, well it kind of enhances it actually. A surprising factor I found was that the film's camera-work was well choreographed with plenty of swirling shots and when it needed to up the ante it became rather erratic to fit in with the mood. Also add in some glorious slow-mo. The score on the other hand I thought was forcefully unbalanced and didn't fit into the mood at times. The performances are all sturdy and very hard to knock. Dee Wallace-Stone was at the top of her game as the wayward wife and Danny Pintauro as her worried son was equally so. Daniel Hugh Kelly gives a likable performance as the father and of course the endearing dog is worth a mention too. The strong performances make this traumatic experience even more believable.
A tautly constructed and work-man like film that won't push the boundaries, but its intensely petrifying in its simple origins.
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