Cujo (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lewis Teague
Produced by Robert Singer
Daniel H. Blatt[1]
Screenplay by Don Carlos Dunaway
Lauren Currier
Based on Cujo by
Stephen King
Starring Dee Wallace
Danny Pintauro
Daniel Hugh-Kelly
Christopher Stone
Ed Lauter
Music by Charles Bernstein
Cinematography Jan de Bont
Editing by Neil Travis
Studio Taft Entertainment
Sunn Classic Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. (domestic)
PSO International (international)
Release dates August 12, 1983
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8,000,000
Box office $21,156,152 (USA)

Cujo is a 1983 American horror/thriller film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Cujo was directed by Lewis Teague from a screenplay by Don Carlos Dunaway and Lauren Currier.[2]


Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) is a frustrated housewife whose life is in turmoil after her husband Vic learns about her having an affair with her ex-boyfriend. Brett Camber is a young boy and a son of a mechanic, Joe, whose only companion is a St. Bernard named "Cujo" who is bitten by a rabid bat and his behavior changes. While the dog begins to succumb to the disease, Brett and his mother leave for Connecticut to visit his mother's sister. The gentle Cujo, now crazed by the disease, has killed Joe and his friendly neighbour, Gary Pervier.

Later, Donna and her young son, Tad, drive up to the Cambers' house. But as they arrive, Cujo appears out of nowhere and tries to attack them, but with Donna and Tad in the car safely, he gives up and walks away. Making matters worse, Donna's Ford Pinto car's alternator dies, meaning the two can't leave. So they are forced to stay inside the Pinto while Cujo waits outside, attacking repeatedly, all while Vic is out of town on a business trip.The hot sun makes the conditions nearly unbearable, but Donna knows that certain death awaits them outside and decides that she must do something before they both die from either heatstroke or dehydration, but Cujo could be around, however, and attempts at escape are foiled by the repeated attacks of Cujo, who tries to get into the car. The local Sheriff comes to the house for a brief standoff, before Cujo kills him. Donna decides that she must risk going outside to save Tad, but Cujo jumps out from underneath the car and bites her in the leg, forcing her back into the car. Eventually, a badly wounded Donna makes an attempt to dash for the house but is attacked by Cujo, the only safety being the car. Vic arrives home and tries to rekindle his marriage, but finds out Donna and Tad are missing. He begins to suspect that Steve Kemp for the kidnapping, but realizes where they might be.

After her brutal struggle against Cujo, Donna takes advantage of a momentary distraction and hits Cujo with a baseball bat several times until the bat breaks off, leaving only a jagged handle. Cujo jumps at her, only to land on the broken handle, impaling him. Donna pushes Cujo off and uses the sheriff's revolver to break open the windshield and retrieve Tad, as Cujo had broken all of the handles. Donna revives her son, who had passed out due to the extreme heat and dehydration. Cujo wakes up and breaks through the kitchen window and uses the last of his strength to try to kill the two, but Donna pulls out the Sheriff's pistol and shoots and kills Cujo. Vic arrives at the Camber's house, and is reunited with Donna and Tad, who is still clinging to life.



Reviews of the film were mixed, and a more recent collation of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes has earned Cujo a "rotten" rating of 59% based on 29 reviews. Eleanor Mannikka of the New York Times wrote that:

Cujo is not as menacing or frightening as other film adaptations of King's popular stories and especially can not compare to the 1976 Carrie...His condition deteriorates as he attacks people again and again, until finally, mom Donna Trenton and her son Tad are trapped inside the family car with Cujo lurking nearby, set to kill them any way he can. A showdown is inevitable but is just as predictable as the rest of the film.

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.[3] It grossed a total of $21,156,152 domestically,[4] making it the fourth highest grossing horror film of 1983.

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