26 November 2014

Cujo (1983)
91 min.
Directed by Lewis Teague.
With Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh-Kelly, Christopher Stone, Ed Lauter, Mills Watson.
For all intents and purposes, Cujo really should have been a one trick pony.

But like Christine (1983), this film adaptation of a Stephen King novel is given superb life by an extremely capable cast, strong plotting, and intelligent pacing.

Dee Wallace (The Howling and The Hills Have Eyes, et al) is superb as Donna Trenton, an adulterous housewife who finds herself stranded with her son Tad (Pintauro) in their late 1970s Pinto automobile. To get their car serviced, the two have driven to a remote farm in the middle of nowhere, and kaput, their ride just up and dies on them.

The problem, you ask? There's a huge St. Bernard dog named Cujo standing watch just outside their car.

You see, Cujo was once a sweet, lovable, huggable bear of a dog. But he's not anymore. Not by a long shot.

Bitten by a bat and driven completely mad by rabies, Cujo is now a bloodthirsty demon...and he's not leaving Donna and Tad alone until he draws blood.

Kudos to any film that can maintain suspense and horror in scenes taking place in the full daylight.

The editing is excellent, the timing is dead-on, and the claustrophobia palpable. While it may not have enough "meat" in terms of storyline to be considered a bonafide classic, Cujo is a successful roller coaster ride chock full of well-positioned thrills and chills.

An early '80s favorite.

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