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Cujo (1983)


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Release Date: Aug 12, 1983 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 52,880

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Movie Info

Based on a Stephen King novel, Cujo is not as menacing or as frightening as other film adaptations of King's popular stories and especially cannot compare to the 1976 Carrie. Cujo is a happy St. Bernard until he is bitten on the nose by a rabid bat and slowly begins manifesting the symptoms of his fatal illness. His condition deteriorates as he attacks people again and again, until finally, mom Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) and her son Tad (Danny Pintauro) are trapped inside the family car with


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Stephen King, Don Carlos Dunaway

Aug 21, 2001

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (12) | DVD (9)

Wallace's turn will not be denied, and fans of real horror will recognize the greatness in her work here.

August 13, 2013 Full Review Source:

A horror film worthy of its classic status...

February 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

As thrilling and scary as Cujo can be, it's dreadful for long stretches.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source:

Directed by Lewis Teague with less cinematographic flair than even the TV miniseries for 'Salem's Lot, Cujo unfortunately demonstrates the difficulty in adapting King's shorter works.

October 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

...there's no denying that the sequences dealing with Cujo's assault on Wallace's cheap Pinto are extremely effective...

July 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Unrelenting terror throughout bulk of film

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Takes a bite out of the common horror flick...Very entertaining

March 4, 2004

Not particularly suspenseful

January 11, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

Better than average King adaptation.

November 20, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Yep, that's one scary dog!

January 9, 2003
New Times

Shockingly effective

August 15, 2002

This one's got some bite.

July 25, 2002

A predictably lousy King adaptation.

July 25, 2002
Matinee Magazine

Audience Reviews for Cujo

It's understandable that this is an actual psychological fear, as dogs are large and prone to sometimes bite. On the other side of the spectrum dogs are friendly and lovable, making it even more startling to see them terrorize a mother and son locked in a hot car for several days. So goes the premise of Stephen King's "Cujo" a film about a rabid dog throwing himself against a dead car, and out in the middle of nowhere, with a mother and son locked inside for protection. It's really more a film about survival of the elements and waiting for help, than in fighting off the dog. The film itself is not well structured, as most of the first hour of the film is devoted to building up flimsy characters and showing setting. When we finally get to the action, it's underwhelming and not very scary. This is probably the least thought out and overly complicated of the King film adaptations, relying more on overwriting than in scares.
September 10, 2014

Super Reviewer

Vic Trenton: There are no real monsters. 
Tad Trenton: Except for the one in my closet. 

"Unleash the terror."

Cujo isn't a terrible movie by any means and it isn't a bad adaption of the Stephen King book either. It's just that Cujo isn't anywhere near King's best work. It's one of his least terrifying, horror stories. It's only scary is you have a St. Bernard, that just happens to be named Cujo.

At the start of the movie Cujo is chasing a rabbit. He sticks his head into a hole and gets attacked by a bay, which bites him on the nose. The dog goes on a killing spree, before trapping a mother and son inside their dead car. The movie isn't really all that thrilling, but given that most of it is shot in a car, I have to say it is pretty well done. I especially liked the scene where the mother sits and the front of the car, after an attack, and the kid sits crying in the back. The camera is in the middle and slowly rotates between the two before it goes nuts and spins faster and faster, until it's just a blurry mess.

The acting isn't too bad and the movie looks really good, with some great cinematography by Jan De Bont. If you are intrigues by the premise, you'll probably love this one; I however was not and it made the last hour very hard to sit through because I wasn't in anyway absorbed into the story. 
October 15, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Based on the novel by Stephen King, CUJO is a poorly-adapted, pet-centric horror movie. It's frustrating watching a movie where some scenes look like exact copies as they appeared in the book, other scenes are barely faithful and move through way too quickly, and some memorable scenes from the book were scrapped from the entire feature. It should be clear to people as professional as screenwriters: never make a screenplay uneven and off balance--either adapt the book word-for-word, adapt it somewhat faithfully, or forget it and scrap your idea because no one's going to enjoy the end result. If Stephen King had experience with directing more than just one film, and if he could adapt his books into screenplays well, he would have directed and written this (for the screen) into a great movie. Instead, it's a disappointing flop.
September 8, 2011

Super Reviewer

Simple and scary, in fact it's too simple and it's not a great horror movie, but it's okay.
January 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Vic Trenton: There are no real monsters.
    2. Tad Trenton: Except for the one in my closet.
    – Submitted by Bria M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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