Synopsis:A friendly St. Bernard named "Cujo" contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.
Cujo (1983) is a 1h 33-minute American psychological horror thriller film that is based on Stephen King‘s novel, Cujo. The movie had an estimated budget of $8 million and grossed over $21 million. Director Lewis Teague (The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Cat’s Eye (1985), Navy Seals (1990)) exceeded my expectations for this horrifying movie that makes me scared as a parent. Thumbs up to Lewis for giving us a fantastic movie about a mother and child being stuck in their vehicle because of a rabid St. Bernard dog attacking them from outside of their vehicle.
Cujo starts with Cujo, who is a St. Bernard chasing a rabbit through a rural countryside which was simply breathtaking and gorgeous. Cujo was eventually bitten by a bat after his head got stuck in a hole while chasing the rabbit resulting in a bat that has rabies biting Cujo on the nose which caused him also to have rabies. Cujo became this crazed out, vicious, bloodthirsty predator that soon scares a mother and son to death - figuratively speaking. We were shortly after introduced to Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace - E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Howling (1981), Critters (1986)) who is a rural homemaker. Donna’s husband Vic (Daniel Hugh Kelly - Ryan’s Hope (1978-1981), All My Children (1970), Hardcastle and McCormick (1983-1986)) is an advertising executive that is away on business trips quite frequently. Their young son Tad (Danny Pintauro - Who’s the Boss? (1984-1992), As the World Turns (1956), The Beniker Gang (1985)) has severe Asthma. The family appears average except for Donna having an affair with handyman Steve Kemp (Christopher Stone - The Howling (1981), The Interns (1970-1971), Days of Our Lives (1965)) who she ended her relationship with shortly after. Steve is not thrilled with her decision and does not think that she means it.
Vic has two major problems, and that is finding out that his wife had an affair and also a crisis at work where a breakfast cereal, that is successful, which his company created a commercial for is making children violently ill everywhere. Steve has to leave home for a few days because he needs to go to the headquarters to find a solution. It took us about 45 minutes to meet the rabid Cujo whose owner is Joe Camber (Ed Lauter - The Artist (2011), The Number 23 (2007), Trouble with the Curve (2012), Leaving Las Vegas (1995)) who is an auto mechanic. I was happy that there was character development and that the director threw in Cujo here and there letting us know how he is gradually becoming a vicious dog.
Skip forward and we see Donna and Tad trapped in their car that is stalled and is being terrorized by Cujo. The mother and son are sweltering in the vehicle because it is hot outside and cannot open their window resulting Tad having an Asthma attack with no inhaler. Donna tries her best to protect her son against Cujo, who is persistent on getting his claws on the duo and kills a few others while trying to get into the car.
I applaud the cinematographer for doing an excellent job as well as all of the actors who were phenomenal with their roles. It was heart touching to see what a mother will do to protect her child and as a mother, I connected with Donna. The sound and editing department did a terrific job.
About Cujo (1983)
Total Avg. Votes: 36
Writers: Stephen King, Don Carlos Dunaway, Lauren Currier
Director: Lewis Teague