Thursday, October 06, 2016

Cujo

(1983)
***1/2

The great outdoors.
Fresh air, the sounds of nature.
The abundant wealth of scents offered by flora and fauna alike.
And this lovable doofus.
So begins the unfortunate journey of the eponymous Cujo, a large and friendly St. Bernard who slowly transforms into a rabid monstrosity after being bitten by bats. Hurt and confused, he stumbles home to his humans, the Cambers -- Joe, a backwoods-type mechanic and abusive husband, wife Charity and son Brett.

Normally one would think a full-length feature film about a rabid dog wandering the countryside would be boring, but Cujo holds your attention as tensions rise amongst the humans. On the other side of town, Vic and his wife Donna are facing romantic and financial troubles and navigating the best way to keep their young son Tad oblivious to their growing misery. Vic leaves for a business trip and Donna takes Tad with her to repair the family car at the Cambers' residence.

Joe isn't home; in fact, the property seems to be devoid of people altogether, and instead they are greeted by the rabid Cujo. With a dead car battery and no cell phones to call for help (this is 1983 after all) they are screwed.
"Screwed and skewed as I like to say! Nom om nom nom nom..."
I recall reading this book as a preteen and marveling at the craft of Stephen King's writing, noted before that the focus is on human relationships rather than the tame-turned-monstrous St. Bernard. Several of these literary elements resurfaced as I was watching and it sent shivers up my spine. I was pleasantly surprised how many moments transferred from paper to screen, especially those eliciting empathy for Cujo's misery and infection with rabies. As far as horror movies go, it is rather light compared to other films but it gets the job done nicely.

4 comments:

JPX said...

I agree that this one is a bit "light" - it probably would have plaid better as a 30 minute installment in an anthology film but it still has some bite! I remember being grossed out by all his drool (dry heaving just thinking about it). Welcome to the party!

Catfreeek said...

Cujo actually brings back fond memories for me. After I read the book I passed it to my dad and when the film came out we went to see it together. It was one of those precious few times where I got to spend time with just my dad.

AC said...

I remember the book fondly as well, but have never seen this. Sounds worth a watch.

DKC said...

I second the reaction to the drool, JPX! I do remember the tension of this though, and thinking it was mostly well done.