Family Friendly Cujo

Atomic Dog (1998)

A low level leak at a nuclear power plant forces a janitor to abandon the puppy he secretly brings to work there. Fortunately the radiation doesn't kill the puppy but makes it smarter than your average dog and able to think like a human. When a group of teenagers mess around shooting at things inside the sealed of power plant the super dog catches whiff of a dog they have with them and tracks it back to where it lives with the Yates family where it leads it astray, quite literally. But when the Yates' dog has puppies super dog wants its kin especially when one of them exhibits a super aggressive side which threatens an entire town.

I am lost for words having watched "Atomic Dog" because I don't know what this movie is suppose to be and I don't think it does either leaving it floating in a curious state of limbo. It is actually quite hard to explain because in truth the movie has left me so flummoxed I am genuinely lost for words to even describe this utterly curious movie.

So okay "Atomic Dog" has this sci-fi horror side as we have the dog with super intelligence thanks to suffering from radiation and we have one of his offspring having severe bouts of fang revealing aggression. Along the way people also become victims of these dogs when they turn aggressive and that would be kind of fine, although how it is handled in "Atomic Dog" fails to really deliver on the horror of the set up. And that is in truth is the issue because somehow "Atomic Dog" has a PG certificate and a strange family movie side with typical made for TV characters that do not belong in a horror movie. It actually feels like utter madness to try and combine the two very different styles as you go from a moment of weak, suggested horror involving a dog attack to something jokey and out of place light.

The daft thing about "Atomic Dog" is that it is so wrong that you find yourself hooked to see what other things go horribly wrong. One of those things is the animal expert neighbour, yes we have that coincidence, as not only is the character written with a touch of comedy but Isabella Hofmann's attractiveness is over played on to the point that you wonder whether she will end up seducing the teenage Yates boy or he will make an embarrassing move on her.

What this all boils down to is that "Atomic Dog" is curiously wrong on so many levels and tries to be this strange blend of horror and family drama. But in being curiously wrong it keeps you watching to see what else it gets wrong.

Tags: Dog Movies

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