Plot: The town drunk has turned up beheaded, but due to his frequent intoxication, his death is ruled an accident. But this becomes questionable when more bodies begin to turn up and the police have no real leads, which prompts some locals to form rogue bands of vigilantes. Meanwhile, young Marty (Corey Haim) refuses to believe these killings are the work of some maniac, instead he is convinced that a werewolf is on the prowl. Of course, even those close to him refuse to believe him, as the idea seems like pure fantasy. His uncle Red (Gary Busey) tries to placate him, but even he starts to get curious about the possibility, especially in the wake of a terrifying encounter Marty claims to have had with the beast. But will anyone believe him in time, or will the creature ravage the entire town?
Entertainment Value: As horror fans know all too well, good adaptations of Stephen King’s work are few and far between, but Silver Bullet takes one of King’s novelettes and crafts a fun, character driven experience. I love that while the horror elements are frequent and central to the narrative, the movie takes the time to develop characters and give the story some solid depth. The bond between Marty and Red is given the most time to develop, but threads around Marty’s family are fleshed out across the board and those relationships feel organic. In other words, the movie is able to do what few horror films manage, which is to make us care about the characters and since we are invested, that dials up the tension and dread. The extra emphasis on characters doesn’t detract from the horror elements or overall fun factor whatsoever, so Silver Bullet is a cut above similar genre efforts. The cast is also terrific, with Corey Haim as a capable lead and Gary Busey in a memorable role, in a more sensitive and complex alcoholic than you’d expect from 80s horror cinema. This one wasn’t a hit when it was first released, but it has grown into a genre favorite over the years and with good reason, so even casual horror fans should have this one in their libraries.
No nakedness. The movie does include a good amount of bloodshed however, as you’d expect from a movie with a murderous werewolf on the loose. We are given a decapitation, pregnant lady assault, an attack on a child, some facial trauma, a nasty baseball bat beat down, fireworks to the eyeball, and more. The special effects are solid for the most part, though the werewolf itself is a little on the hokey side. It still looks eons better than the CGI we are plagued with these days, so it is easy to forgive the less than spectacular creature effects. I also love the scene where Busey is launched like a rocket by the werewolf, a wild and very cool moment. The dialogue here is great, with a natural feel that helps the characters and relationships feel believable, as well as some quotable and humorous lines. Busey tends to steal the show in this area, as he has some wild and bizarre moments. As for craziness, the werewolf is on the wackier side and Busey’s performance is quite memorable, but Silver Bullet is more grounded than you might expect, given the material.
Overall Insanity: 3/10
The Disc: The visual treatment on Umbrella’s disc is fantastic, a super clean and detailed image that never wavers. The print has minimal defects and looks nearly brand new, while fine detail is sharp and colors look natural. On the extras side, we have director Daniel Attias’ audio comments, cast & crew interviews, an isolated musical score, plus trailers, ads, and other promotional materials.