Silver Bullet - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Silver Bullet


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Movie: :4stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :5stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:




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Movie

When I think of the top 3 werewolf movies of all time (in my opinion of course), the three that immediately come to mind are American Werewolf in London, The Howling and Silver Bullet. I like to contrast The Howling and Silver Bullet as being totally on the opposite end of the horror spectrum in regards to it’s delivery. On one end of the spectrum we have the adult horror film that is The Howling, complete with gruesome deaths and gritty terror. Then we have Silver Bullet, which is aimed more at the teen audience, and even though it has some gory monster scenes, is more content to have fun with Corey Haim and Gary Busey than it is trying to make a SERIOUSLY terrifying movie.

Penned by Stephen King in Novelette form (“Cycle of the Werewolf”), Silver Bullet is a cheeky and airy little film that starts out as a typical 80s horror movie, but then changes into a mystery film as the identity of the werewolf comes into play. It also is probably not a coincidence that Gary Busey adds in a healthy dollop of humor to the film and makes it much more of a teen action/comedy movie than a traditional terrifying horror movie. Stephen King also writes the screenplay for the film as well, and you can see his humorous touches to the film and desire to develop the various characters quite a bit more than your average horror film.

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The story revolves around a small town in rural America where a rash of killings are happening. At first it seems like various accidents, but as the killings get more and more gruesome sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O’Quinn) starts to realize that something ELSE is out there doing the killing besides a human. The main character of the film happens to be a young wheelchair bound boy named Marty (Corey Haim) and him figuring out just what exactly is going on. With the help of his idiosyncratic uncle Red (Gary Busey) he gets around town with a souped up wheelchair nicknamed the Silver Bullet, and stumbles on to a bit more information about the identity of the furry killer than he really should. Now Marty has to convince his sister Jane (Megan Follows, the same year she become immortalized in Anne of Green Gables) and his uncle red that the killer is something inhuman, and some ONE that they know at that, and that it’s coming for them next.

Silver Bullet dances a thin line between horror and a teenage mystery. It doesn’t rely on cheap scares and thrills, but rather is more introspective and nuanced, with script writer Stephen King trying to pull out some dramatic elements out of his characters. Especially in regards to the two siblings Jane and Marty. Gary Busey is obviously the humor aspect of the film, and he does it quite well as he hams it up in typical Gary Busey fashion (before Busey went crazy from his infamous motorcycle accident and way too much drugs), but it’s really Corey Haim and Megan Follows that gets the most focus. Marty is a charming and precocious youth, but he’s also sensitive and kind as well. He knows when he pushes the line a bit too far with his sister Jane, and is properly empathetic when she gets embarrassed. Jane is also just as kind as Marty, and although she sometimes hates having to deal with a little brother, he’s her ward and she does her best to protect him nonetheless.




Rating:

Rated R by the MPAA




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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Now for the part we’ve all been waiting for. How did Scream Factory improve on the already solid 2019 Blu-ray special edition? Well, they decided to go back to the original camera negative (OCN), completely remastering the thing and massively improving on the old disc. The 2023 struck master looks a goodly amount better than the slightly soft, slightly interlaced looking 2019 disc, featuring richer colors, a nicer grain structure, and deeper black levels thanks to the Dolby Vision. Honestly, this is like looking at the film for the very first time. Gone are the slightly soft looking shots of the kid on his bike, and instead we get rich reads for his plaid shirt, great facial details (check out when he escapes from the werewolf on the bridge), and the shadow detail is superb. The film has always looked really good on Blu-ray (whether that be Paramount or Scream Factory), but the Dolby Vision adds some really deep and inky blacks that improve some of the darkest scenes the most. Simply put, this is a VERY nice upgrade over the already solid 2019 Scream Factory disc, and an even bigger boost over the Blu-ray Paramount did a few years back.








Audio: :4stars:
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Being that this is simply a port of the 2019 Blu-ray's audio, my thoughts will remain the same as it was in 2019.
The 2.0 Mono track in lossless DTS-HD MA is comfortably appealing, and has a solid amount of crispness to it for a mono track from the 80s. Dialog is clean and clear in the mains, and the rumbling and roaring of the beast comes through impressively as well. There’s not a whole lot of depth to it considering that it’s a simple mono track, but I didn’t detect any hints of hiss or other analog abnormalities to it either. A simple track with a clean presentation at its core is all we can ask for, and that’s what we got.













Extras: :5stars:
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Disc One - 4K UHD
  • NEW Transfer From The Original Camera Negative (2023)
  • DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Eric Vespe And Scott Wampler Of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary With Producer Martha De Laurentiis
  • Audio Commentary With Director Daniel Attias
  • Isolated Score Selections And Audio Interview With Composer Jay Chattaway
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature
Disc Two - Blu-ray
  • NEW Transfer From The Original Camera Negative (2023)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Eric Vespe And Scott Wampler Of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary With Producer Martha De Laurentiis
  • Audio Commentary With Director Daniel Attias
  • Isolated Score Selections And Audio Interview With Composer Jay Chattaway
  • "A Little Private Justice" – An Interview With Actor Kent Broadhurst
  • "Cutting To The Bone" – An Interview With Editor Daniel Loewenthal
  • "The Wolf Within" – An Interview With Actor Everett McGill
  • "Full Moon Fever" – The Effects Of Silver Bullet
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Radio spot
  • Still Gallery













Final Score: :4.5stars:


Silver Bullet is a whole ton of fun, and even though it’s not one of the SCARIEST of werewolf movies, it’s one of the more memorable ones thanks to Stephen King’s influences in the writing. The film is light and airy while still being gory and reminiscing in the little nuances of King’s fantasy world (such as drunken bumbling middle aged men who get their butts handed to them time and time again) while still delivering some really good times. Luckily instead of using the old master they used for the 2019 release (which was the same as the Umbrella release), Scream Factory has gone back to the original camera negative and created a brand new master for both the Blu-ray included in this set ,as well as the 4K UHD. The results are more than appealing, and adding on a new commentary to add to the already copious extras make this one a win in my book. Highly reccomended as a great watch.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Megan Follows, Joe Wright, Terry O'Quinn, Leon Russom, Robin Groves
Directed by: Daniel Attias
Written by: Stephen King (Screenplay and Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
Sugtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 95 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 5th, 2023
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Recommendation: Great Watch

 
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tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I don't remember this one so will check it out.
 

Todd Anderson

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Shout Factory is doing some great stuff, Mike. I'm putting this on my wishlist!
 
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