I’ve not read all of Stephen King’s books, but I’ve read a handful and enjoyed them all. A great deal of his books translate into equally great movies. Some, like Maximum Overdrive, do not (though I thought it was kinda fun, anyway).
In Cujo, a nice old dog gets bitten by a bat and becomes rabid. He attacks a couple of people and traps bored suburban housewife Dee Wallace and her young son in their broken down car. The pair are terrorised by Cujo whilst they wait for rescue, or some way to attempt an escape.
Admittedly, I’ve not read Cujo, so don’t have any background on the tale itself. The film takes a fair old while to get moving, so much so that I was beginning to wish I’d watched the classic Zoltan – Hound of Dracula instead. This movie was looking to become one of those unfortunate King stories that become mediocre movies.
Things start to rev up when Cujo starts maiming people, though it’s a long wait. Yet when Wallace and her boy are trapped in their car, the tension mounts considerably. Their fear and desperation are vivid, ensuring the slow burn is worth persevering with.
I’m sure the book would be a much more satisfying experience – King is so good at delving into the mind and motivations of his small town characters, that the detail always becomes riveting. I didn’t find the movie as engrossing as others, but the final act of the film – with Wallace becoming more and more terrified – takes Cujo out of the “dud” category and into the “not bad at all”.