Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Silver Bullet

Shout Factory // R // December 17, 2019
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted December 19, 2019 | E-mail the Author
Silver Bullet:


Silver Bullet, about a werewolf terrorizing a small New England town, is about as quintessential a mid-'80s Stephen King movie as one can imagine. Featuring an uneven tone, cheap special effects, corn-pone characterizations, and Gary Busey, Silver Bullet never had a chance to overcome its weaknesses on its way to becoming a mildly amusing Saturday afternoon time-waster.


The year was 1985, a time ripe for this movie. Stephen King was (then and now) the world's biggest author, and despite discouraging degrees of success in cinema adaptation, about 172 movies based on King's works were released between 1984 and 1986, all of which were produced by Dino Di Laurentiis, a man who, back then, (in truth) had 5 movies in production at any given time. But if for the viewer, the concept of turning King movies into product churned out by a factory weren't strong enough a warning sign, then the fact that King is unfilmable should have been reason enough for anyone to give up on watching the results. But, inasmuch as King (then and now) was basically a giant reservoir spewing money, the movies kept coming.


Silver Bullet starts with a dopey drunk rail-yard worker losing his head over the appearance of a werewolf. The werewolf in this movie departs dramatically from lycanthropes of old, acting like a devious serial killer, stalking and slashing victims for no particular reason. It was just for the joy of killin' I guess. But the wolf gets too close to young Marty Coslaw, (Corey Haim) a spirited boy confined to a wheelchair, tormented by his jerk friends, snippy older sister, (Megan Follows) and lovably insane Uncle Red (Gary Busey). I reckon it's up to Marty to set things right, because the ad hoc mob of drunken townsfolk out to deliver a little vigilante justice on what they think is a garden-variety kid killer sure can't do it.


If you dial your expectations down, (or up, depending on what you're expecting) you may find Silver Bullet worth a watch; a crappy, boneheaded, pretty fun watch. King is notoriously difficult to film. What on the page is gripping and insidious ends up on screen as clunky, gee-whiz Americana. Maybe people don't focus on the right aspects of the author's work? There has to be a reason why the most critically acclaimed of his movie adaptations is The Shining, a story wrestled into submission by Stanley Kubrick.


However, Di Laurentiis, screenwriter King himself (too in love with rigorous adherence to his stuff to know better) and director Daniel Attias do the material no favors. (Director Don Coscarelli was originally attached to direct, but was bumped when Di Laurentiis found out he wanted to make a subtle, scary movie.) Here sketched in mostly cartoon-fashion are King's small-town stock players: the ineffectual constable, the angry drunk, the overwrought grieving parent, and more, all swirling around in a town full of pie-eating carnivals, waterwheels, and pious parishioners. A bunch of idealized hokum, in other words.


Further pushing the critics away while drawing in the crap-hounds is the awkward tone. Director Attias himself admits he was at odds with Di Laurentiis. Attias wanted a wholesome, PG-13 movie kids could watch and have a good time with, while the famous producer kept pushing for a gory, R-rated thriller. Dino won, leading to some nice gratuitous gore and, in the producer's words "shredding skin", butting up against scenes of quaint pre-teen hi-jinx. Then there are those notorious incidents, such as: the werewolf doing the belly crawl under a ground fog to avoid detection, beating a victim to death with a baseball bat, and walking around looking like a dude in an emaciated bear costume. I'd love to go on, but why spoil the fun?


Silver Bullet, the wooly tale of a werewolf stalking a small New England town, isn't the nadir of Stephen King adaptations, it's too much fun, but it's a pretty bad movie anyway; adolescent goofiness mixes poorly with the gore, the special effects are woeful, and King's heartfelt Americana just seems naive on screen. Coming hot on the heels of a 2018 Blu-ray release, Shout Factory brings us a few new extras, and what represents a nice upgrade from watching Silver Bullet on the TV on a rainy Saturday afternoon, which somehow seems to miss the point. Cautiously Recommended.



The DVD


Video:

There's no information that would indicate that this is a new scan, so we will assume the overall quality of this 1080p, 2.35:1 ratio presentation is on a par with the earlier Paramount disc. Details depend on the quality of the filmed source; when the source was good, Silver Bullet looks very, very good, with crisp, clear, and sharp foreground details, especially in well-lit scenes. Generally, details become soft the farther into the background depth of field extends, but retain a nice film-like look. Some random scenes, mostly more darkly lit, can lose definition compared to their well-lit counterparts, with film grain becoming more noisy. Colors are rendered naturally, and film damage is kept to an almost unnoticeable minimum.


Sound:

Silver Bullet growls its way into your living room in a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track in English, preserving its original audio aspect ratio, as it were. There are no complaints regarding the condition and quality of this track, the dynamic range is good, elements are mixed nicely together, dialog is clear, and damage is not evident.



Extras:

This Collector's Edition comes with a few new extras, including a Commentary Track with producer Martha Di Laurentiis, who speaks more to Dino's career than the movie, and two new Interviews, 11 minutes with editor Daniel Lowenthal, and 16 minutes with Kent "A Little Private Justice" Broadhurst. You get a Slipcovertoo! Also included is new Reversible Cover Art, and some ported-over extras: a Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot, a Radio Spot (I really miss the days when horror movies were advertised on the radio) and a Stills Gallery. The moderated Director's Commentary Track (mellow, wide-ranging, and informative) with Daniel Attias is here again, as well as Isolated Score Selections and an Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway. Two Interviews are also ported over, 16 minutes with actor Everett McGill, and 21 entertaining minutes with Special Effects bros Matthew Mungle and Michael McCracken, who play off each other nicely.



Final Thoughts:

Silver Bullet, the wooly tale of a werewolf stalking a small New England town, isn't the nadir of Stephen King adaptations, it's too much fun, but it's a pretty bad movie anyway; adolescent goofiness mixes poorly with the gore, the special effects are woeful, and King's heartfelt Americana just seems naive on screen. Coming hot on the heels of a 2018 Blu-ray release, Shout Factory brings us a few new extras, and what represents a nice upgrade from watching Silver Bullet on the TV on a rainy Saturday afternoon, which somehow seems to miss the point. Cautiously Recommended.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Recommended

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links