|Silver Bullet (1985)
|Stephen King – Based on his novel “Cycle of the Werewolf”
|Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Megan Follows, Terry O’Quinn, Robin Groves, Leon Russom, Bill Smitrovich, Joe Wright and Kent Broadhurst
“There are no such things as werewolves!” – Uncle Red
In the small town of Tarker’s Mills brutal killings are taking place. Marty (Haim), a paraplegic boy, is convinced that the killer is a werewolf and he tries to get his sister Jane (Follows) to help find out who he is. Uncle Red (Busey) reluctantly agrees to help.
“Silver Bullet” is a really fine werewolf movie. Horror maestro Stephen King wrote the screenplay based on his illustrated novel “Cycle of the Werewolf” and, as nearly always, he creates good characters that register with the viewer. His love of picture-perfect small towns that have something dark brewing underneath is put to good use here as Tarker’s Mills becomes a small character in it’s own right not unlike Jerusalem’s Lot or Derry in their respective fright flicks. Marty and Jane are fairly well drawn-out protagonists, but Uncle Red and Reverend Lowe (McGill) are also well fleshed out and interesting.
It’s quick getting started, and the first gruesome kill appears just after the opening credits. There are several effective set pieces here and they registered strongly when I first saw the film at a fairly young age. I’m happy to say they still hold up decently as the film is pretty suspenseful and builds momentum admirably. There’s a particularly startling dream sequence that’s very well pulled off with memorable imagery.
The script by King is good and it starts out as a mystery as to who the werewolf is but it’s fairly obvious even early on who that is. The revelation is still an effective scene. Werewolves have always been curious beasts as their condition is a curse that’s even inflicted on decent individuals who slowly succumb to the nature of the beast within them and even growing to be empowered by its sheer force and animal nature. The story in “Silver Bullet” doesn’t include any prelude to the werewolf’s condition but his dual nature is evident simply through solid acting and direct dialogue.
The late Corey Haim is terrific in his role as Marty. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and rides a specially made motorized wheelchair aptly named Silver Bullet. While his condition isn’t central to the plot it does fuel his rocky relationship with Jane. Follows is likeable and convincing as Jane and McGill is very good in his part. Busey is a bit hyperactive but overall pretty good as Uncle Red. Supporting players are good as well with Broadhurst and O’Quinn particularly good.
The only thing that kinda’ bothers me is the corny narration that pops up here and there to explain the on-goings from Jane’s perspective. I do think the film could lose it entirely and not suffer for it story-wise. But that’s about it for the negatives in what is a very well accomplished addition to the werewolf universe. It was Attias’s first credit as a director and he’s gone on to have a long career and it’s easy to see why. On occasion “Silver Bullet” is quite the stylish flick with some good scares and atmosphere and is very deserving of it’s long standing cult status.