The plot? Rabid St. Bernard terrorises an adulterous wife (Dee Wallace)
and her whiny son (Danny Pintauro).
One of the few Stephen King adaptations that really doesn't deserve its
bad reputation. After a very slow start, which presents us with
uncharacteristic flawed characters, the film never ceases to keep you on
the edge of your seat. You don't really like Wallace, and you certainly
don't like the dude she's cavorting with (hubby
Christopher Stone, actually. Don't know if they were married yet), but
c'mon- big scary dog attacks someone, you gotta have some sympathy (And
no, I'm not talking about the dog, although it's not really his fault when
you think about it).
The final half hour is terrific, nail-biting stuff (there's at least one
classic 'boo' moment that I'll never forget), and that damn dog is one of
the finest thespians I've seen in a long time. His range is enormous.
Superlative editing in the attack sequences and brilliant camerawork (by
future crappy director Jan De Bont) really are the stars of this sometimes
frightening experience. Basically, it's a really good B movie, and the
much-maligned characters are no dumber than 'Jaws', where we had the idiot
mayor played by Murray Hamilton.
Simplistic, but effective monster movie may be a slow-starter, but as soon
as mother and son are left alone with that dog, hold on, we're going to
hell. Scary stuff.