- Movie Rating -

Benji the Hunted (1987)

| June 5, 1987

Benji, the precious pooch of “Petticoat Junction”, is lost in the Oregon woods and must defend himself against all manner of predators who wish to do him harm.  Well, I suppose if it worked for Rambo, then this little guy can tough it out too.  Benji the Hunted is the fourth Benji picture and I wasn’t sure if I’d seen a good movie or a bad movie.  I’d seen a cute dog, and some cute scenes, a lot of running, a lot of Benji in danger and at least one brutal scene of a female Cougar who is shot and killed.  I guess this movie is trying to pack it all in.

And pack in, this movie does.  When Benji is lost in the woods after a shipwreck during a fishing trip, Benji is left to face the wilderness, first on the run from a wolf and then a bear and then a different cougar who is trying to protect her own cubs.  All of that before the movie has time to stop off for a cute little scene in which Benji tends to the now-orphaned cubs.

Benji the Hunted is kind of relentless in that way.  There are sweet moments but they are overwhelmed by far too many scenes of the titular mutt running first from this predator and then from that predator.  I don’t know exactly what kind of movie that the filmmakers thought they were making, but I feared that it might scare kids.  Will they like it?  I don’t know.  When I was a kid, I would have loved it but now as an adult I am kind of indifferent.  I’ve seen all of these Benji movies over the years and while I can say that none were necessarily inspired, this may be the best, but that’s not high praise.

Joe Camp who make the first Benji movie comes back to write and direct this one and he does so, I think, with kids in mind.  I just wish that he’d put a little more thought and effort into the cute moments and less into the terror of the wilderness.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Kids