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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cujo (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


A mild mannered St. Bernard becomes rabid and goes on a killing spree, trapping a mother and her young son in a car, in this adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

In this adaptation of Cujo by director Lewis Teague (The Jewel of the Nile, Cat’s Eye), one of the least frightening of the King adaptations, but an enjoyable entry in the animal horror subgenre.

A mild-mannered St. Bernard named Cujo is infected with rabies after a run-in with a bat. As Cujo’s health degrades, he begins exhibiting all the signs of his rabidity, becoming violent, foaming at the mouth, and attacking various people. Meanwhile, mom Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) — going through a rough marital patch with her husband Vic (Daniel Hugh Kelly) — is left on her own with her young son Tad (Danny Pintauro) to drive her broken down Pinto to get repairs in a remote location. On her arrival, Donna and Tad are trapped in the car by the rabid Cujo who terrorizes them throughout the night. There is not much to this story, but the claustrophobic terror and Dee Wallace’s brilliant, performance, overlooked for awards considerations, lifts the quality of the film. Her impassioned performance caring for and protecting her son is real is powerful. One scene where she risks her life to run out of the car and reach the house to save her asthmatic son is harrowing.

The look of the film is basic, flat, and nothing stylish. The use of low camera angle shots to impart the sense of terror that Cujo may be about to grab on to someone’s leg is one of the better artifices employed by Teague.

  • Dee Wallace in Cujo (1983)
  • Dee Wallace in Cujo (1983)
  • Dee Wallace and Danny Pintauro in Cujo (1983)
  • Cujo (1983)
  • Dee Wallace in Cujo (1983)
  • Cujo (1983)
  • Cujo 4K Ultra HD Combo (KL Studio Classics)
  • Cujo 4K Ultra HD Combo (KL Studio Classics)

The Video

KL Studio Classics’ 4K Ultra HD release of Cujo comes from a “brand new HDR/Dolby Vision Master – from a 4K scan of the 35mm original camera negative.” The film is presented in a 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. Picture quality of the transfer is excellent. There is fine, dense granularity that looks exceptionally organic and mostly consistent, only showing some heightened, swarming grain in some white or brighter backgrounds such as skies. The look of the film is not one that really ‘pops’ to begin with, looking mostly flat and a little toward the softer side when it comes to details. The Dolby Vision HDR grading only adds subtle specular highlight ‘pop’ in reflections on surfaces. There is some good color reproduction, with the Dolby Vision adding what it can, such as one of the best reference scenes being the sunrise scene in Chapter 8, where there are gorgeous color gradations and extended shadow details.

The Audio

Cujo comes to 4K Ultra HD with English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. I watched with the 5.1 mix engaged and it is subtle but grants the sound a but more atmosphere and spaciousness. The low end is not much to mention, but good enough for a solid overall sound.

The Supplements

KL Studio Classics includes three audio commentaries, two with the director, and one with author Lee Gambin. Both Teague audio commentaries are low key but includes a lot of information on the production. Gambin also gives an interesting commentary with good background information. The rest of the bonus features are carryover featurettes and interviews from previous releases including some produced by the UK’s Eureka Entertainment.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Lewis Teague (2007)
  • Audio Commentary by Director Lewis Teague (2013)
  • Audio Commentary by Lee Gambin, Author of Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo. (2019)
  • Cujo Revisited: Roundtable with Stars Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, and Danirl Hugh Kelly with Director Lewis Teague (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:21:40)
  • Dog Days: The Making of Cujo (Blu-ray Only) (SD; 00:42:48)
  • Interview with Dee Wallace (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:41:35)
  • Interview with Composer Charles Bernstein (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:35:38)
  • Interview with Stuntman Gary Morgan (Blu-ray Only) (00:35:38)
  • Interview with Stuntwoman Jean Coulter (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:21:10)
  • Interview with Casting Director Marcia Ross (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:20.04)
  • Interview with Visual Effects Artist Kathie Lawrence (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:13:56)
  • Interview with Special Effects Designer Robert Clark (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:12:51)
  • Interview with Dog Trainer Teresa Miller (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:28:15)
  • Cujo – Radio Spots (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:01:36)
  • Cujo – TV Spots (Blu-ray Only) (SD; 00:02:17)
  • Cujo – Trailer (Blu-ray Only) (1080p; 00:01:47)

The Final Assessment

Cujo will not be one of the scarier films to watch during this spooky season, but it is still horrifying, particularly in the final act. The 4K Ultra HD release from KL Studio Classics is as good as it gets. Recommended.

Cujo is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo October 24, 2023, from KL Studio Classics.

  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Sunn Classic Pictures | TAFT Entertainment Pictures | Warner Bros. | Kino Lorber Studio Classics
  • Director: Lewis Teague
  • Written By: Stephen King | Don Carlos Dunaway | Barbara Turner
  • Run Time: 93 Mins.
  • Street Date: 24 October 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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A mild mannered St. Bernard becomes rabid and goes on a killing spree, trapping a mother and her young son in a car, in this adaptation of the Stephen King novel.Cujo (4K UHD Review)