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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cujo (1983)

A big and friendly St. Bernard dog is bitten on the nose by a rabid bat. A housewife (Dee Wallace) feels trapped in a small town life and is having an affair with a local man (Christopher Stone). But soon the the woman and her son (Danny Pintauro) and the dog will have a fateful encounter. Based on the best seller by Stephen King and directed by Lewis Teague (ALLIGATOR). The film opened to mixed reviews but was a huge hit anyway. It has developed a large cult following in the ensuing years and it's easy to see why. Teague and his team of screen writers have done a nice job of starting off with a bang and then alternating between the necessary exposition of the family's problems and the dog's deteriorating condition.  The film's lengthy showdown (almost half the film) is between the mother and son and the dog and it falls to Dee Wallace to keep everything grounded in a reality to keep the movie from spilling over into silliness and she does a superb job. The film sticks close to the novel except it gives the movie a somewhat "happy" ending which is understandable as the book's ending was a bummer. The lensing by Jan De Bont (DIE HARD) and the score by Charles Bernstein contribute immeasurably. With Daniel Hugh Kelly, Ed Lauter and Kaiulani Lee. 

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