One of the lesser known Stephen King adaptions, Silver Bullet is based off the horror maestro’s novella, Cycle of the Werewolf. It’s no surprise that Silver Bullet is a werewolf horror movie but what is a surprise is just how good it actually is. A well told story, some great effects & a stellar cast really makes this one of the better King adaptions!
Set in a small American town in 1976, the film focuses on the Coslaw family. In particular the young siblings, Jane (Megan Follows) & Marty (Corey Haim). They do not get along as Jane resents the treatment Marty gets as he is a paraplegic. However this changes when the town is rocked by a series of brutal murders. A spate of killings seemingly at random with few actual suspects.
The sheriff (Terry O’Quinn) along with the local reverend (Everett McGill) try to keep order as the townspeople get more & more enraged at the lack of results. However, the townspeople end up forming a vigilante group & going out into the woods to try & find the culprit.
Unsurprisingly some of them end up dead.
With the amount of unsolved murders mounting up, curfews are put in place & events cancelled. Something stalks the streets & the police force seem incapable of stopping it. They don’t even know what it is…no-one does! That is until Marty has a late night trip using his new motorised wheelchair made by his Uncle (Gary Busey). Marty ends up coming face to face with the werewolf but manages to defend himself by shooting a firework into its eye.
The next day he confides in his sister who believes him & agrees to walk around town & see if any of the townspeople have a bad eye. She will find her answer but it’s one that they may not actually want.
The reveal is well done even if a particular mid-point dream sequence gives the game away. The character in question handles it so well too giving off a really creepy & sinister vibe.
So much of what makes Silver Bullet so enjoyable is the cast. Many of these actors would go on to do much better things but their charisma & talent lights up the screen. Corey Haim is as great as he always was in the 80s, Gary Busey is delightfully nuts but also endearing, Megan Follows impresses & while Terry O’Quinn doesn’t have the biggest part, he really stands out as a disrespected Sheriff.
The star of the show isn’t the werewolf, in fact it’s not fully seen until the finale & for good reason. The costume isn’t great. It looks extremely fake hence why the movie tires to stick to close-ups. There are no ‘American Werewolf in London’ transformation scenes, instead at the end once it has been defeated, we see it transform back into it’s human form but with jump-cuts & some dodgy effects.
Although a scene in the church is extremely well done.
The werewolf isn’t the only dodgy effect though. Silver Bullet has gore but it’s often very silly looking. However, it fits the tone of the movie perfectly. This is a silly movie, the kind that you’d show your kid as their first horror movie. It’s inoffensive but still a cut above many modern werewolf horrors.