Friday, April 22 - Saturday, April 23, 2016

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“Not since the Baskervilles has there been a hound as horrible as Cujo… Based on a novel by Stephen King, CUJO tells of a lovable St. Bernard who, after being bitten by a rabid bat, becomes a good deal less lovable. He is soon covered in blood and slime, ready to attack anyone he sees. And his principal targets are a mother and her terrified little boy.

“Unlike some of the other films based on Mr. King’s fiction, CUJO doesn’t rely on the supernatural. The situation is hardly realistic, but neither is it so farfetched that an audience won’t even bother to care about the characters. Early sequences establish that both Donna (Dee Wallace) and Vic (Daniel Hugh-Kelly) dote on their son, Tad (Danny Pintauro), even though the couple’s marriage appears to be foundering. Little Tad sleeps in a room that, like the child’s room in Kramer vs. Kramer, has reassuring clouds painted on its walls. The boy is afraid there are monsters in his closet. But every night his parents persuade him that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

“A chain of coincidences lead the parents to separate, and mother and son to visit an auto-repair shop in a very isolated spot. Unbeknownst to them, there’s no one alive in the area but Cujo, and no one expected for a good long while. During a long section of the movie, mother and son sit trapped in their stalled car, under the watchful eye of what has by now evolved into one very disgusting-looking dog. It’s possible to make out the contours of an ordinary St. Bernard under all that muck and makeup, but the dog’s appearance does become genuinely frightening.

“…it’s suspenseful and scary. The performances are simple and effective, particularly Miss Wallace’s. And Danny Pintauro does a good job as the frightened child. All three of the principals have done either commercials or soap-opera work in the past, which perhaps accounts for the all- American blandness that, in a film like this, is almost an advantage.

“The family members seem believably typical, which makes their encounter with the demonic dog all the more involving. Be warned: if you find yourself too caught up in CUJO, you’ll have a hard time looking your own pooch in the eye.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Part of the series “Stephen King on Film”

  • Country USA
  • Rating R
  • Year 1983
  • Running Time 93 minutes
  • Director Lewis Teague

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.