Cujo (1983)

CUJO (1983)
Article 4964 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-21-2015
Directed by Lewis Teague
Featuring Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Danny Pintauro
Country: USA
What it is: Thriller

A mother and her son become trapped in a malfunctioning car on a remote farm when they are attacked by a rabid St. Bernard.

This adaptation of a Stephen King novel eschews supernatural thrills for a more realistic but quite harrowing premise; two people under siege in a place they can’t escape by a powerful rabid dog. Teague’s direction is solid and once the victims are trapped, the suspense is quite high. The main problem here is somewhat inherent to the story; you can only maintain the tension of this situation for a certain amount of time, and so it needs to be saved for the second half of the movie. The first half of the movie therefore has to fill out things with character development and side issues, and though Teague shows a sure hand with this section as well, some elements (such as the kid’s fear of monsters) work much better than others (such as the romantic triangle). The acting is very good, and you grow to care about the characters; even the “monster” garners our sympathy. It’s especially nice to have a child actor who we like and doesn’t get on our nerves. This isn’t the best of the Stephen King adaptations, but it’s solid and quite satisfying.

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