Cujo is a 1983 American horror film based on Stephen King's 1981 novel of the same name and directed by Lewis Teague. It was written by Don Carlos Dunaway and Barbara Turner (using the pen name Lauren Currier), and starring Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly and Danny Pintauro. The film revolves around a rabid St. Bernard dog, who traps a mother and her child inside their car without food or water during a heat wave, and their attempts to survive.
Cujo, a friendly St. Bernard, contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.
Why It Rocks
- A very original horror film plotline.
- The makeup effects are impressive and very convincing, mainly with Cujo’s rabid appearence.
- Amazing character development, mainly with Cujo, who went from an average, playful dog to a rabid, blood thirsty beast after getting bitten by a bat.
- Along with Pennywise, Cujo is one of Stephen King’s most unforgettable, monstrous creations to ever be put on screen.
- Also his rabid state is pure nightmare fuel.
- The acting/performances are great, such as Dee Wallace as Donna Trenton and the St. Bernard dog that plays Cujo.
- It stay’s very loyal to the source material with some of it’s own creative adjustments from Stephen King’s novel.
- The poster alone is enough to give one nightmares.
- Interesting and relatable characters, such as Donna Trenton and her young son, Tad Trenton.
- The scenes are unforgettable and terrifying, mainly the scenes with Cujo in his rabid form when he‘s attacking innocent citizens or the scene where Cujo got bit by a bat which led to the rabies.
- The cinematography is very nice, even for the early 1980s standards.
Cujo was a modest box office success for Warner Brothers. The film was released August 12, 1983 in the United States, opening in second place that weekend. It grossed a total of $21,156,152 domestically, making it the fourth highest grossing horror film of 1983 behind Jaws 3-D, Psycho II, and Twilight Zone: The Movie.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 58% based on 31 reviews with an average rating of 5.6/10, the critical consensus stating "Cujo is artless work punctuated with moments of high canine gore and one wild Dee Wallace performance." On Metacritic, the film holds a 58/100 based on 8 critics, meaning “mixed or average reviews”. Author and film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film three out of a possible four stars, calling it "genuinely frightening" also writing, "Builds slowly but surely to [its] terrifying (but not gory) climax." Despite the mixed reception, Stephen King called the film "terrific" and named it one of his favorite adaptations.