cujobluStudio: Lions Gate
Year: 1983
Release Date: November 24, 2009
Run time: 95 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: Dolby DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.37:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD25
Region: A

In rural Maine, Vic and Donna Trenton (Daniel Hugh-Kelly and Dee Wallace) struggle to repair their crumbling marriage, while their young son Tad (Danny Pintauro) befriends a hulking, lovable, 200-pound St. Bernard named Cujo. With Vic away on business, Donna and Tad take their decrepit car to be fixed at the remote farm of their mechanic (Ed Lauter). As their aging Pinto sputters to a stop and dies, Cujo appears. But the once docile dog has undergone a hideous transformation – and becomes a slavering, demonic, impecable killer possessed of almost supernatural strength…and unholy cunning. Critically acclaimed, CUJO is a fearsome, spine-chilling tour de force from the most popular name in horror!.

I have seen this film quite a few times. It is gritty, raw and claustrophobic. All of the acting is convincing, especially Dee Stone and her son. I also have never seen a child actor look quite as scared as this one does; to the extent that it makes me uncomfortable, its almost exploitative… i really feel that child was convinced that dog was going to eat him. It is slow building, which is such a relief after a decade of post Scream imitations that insist in shocking me into numbness within the first five minutes. The score is also well suited and Jan De Bont’s cinematography is excellent.

Essentially, it’s a simple story- but a really good one. And unlike many Stephen King adaptations which deviate from the novel, the major changes are justified when you look at the film as it is. Had they wanted to make the film an extra half an hour longer, then perhaps Tad could have died… that’s the only way it could have been done, in keeping with the pace of what proceeded. This movie still creeps me out a bit to this day to think about a dog that likes to eat flesh.
Movie Quality: 9/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The use of color is well done with this film just in general. The yellows and browns that fill the movie make me feel like I am there sweating away inside that car and when the attacks are happening. The film is very gritty looking with the use of the yellows and browns, including a nice thin layer of grain throughout that never becomes intrusive. There are minor specs throughout the film. I was surprised as to how nice the image looked when compared to other films released from this era in high definition. Kudos to Lions Gate with this release and I hope this quality continues.
Video Quality: 8/10

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. I did not expect much in the soundfield with this release since it is a much more front heavy experience. There were instances where the rears had sound effects peering through into the soundfield. ‘Cujo’ is a low budget film which went to make millions in the theater, the sound design for the Blu-ray has been enhanced adding more depth when compared to the DVD release. Dialogue is front and center with no apparent issues.
Audio Quality: 7.5/10

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary by Director Lewis Teague
  • Dog Days: The Making of Cujo – Three-Part Documentary with Cast and Filmmaker Interviews

Special Features: 4/10

Final Thoughts

‘Cujo’ is a timeless Stephen King horror classic that is not to be missed if you are a fan of this genre. This film is so well done that even to today after having seen this so many times I still get freaked out with certain scenes. I was rather impressed with the picture quality considering the age of the film and the audio mix is no slouch. The extras are on the lighter side which is rather disappointing. ‘Cujo’ is highly recommended when also considering that this can be purchased for as low as $12.99.
Overall Rating: 7/10