Silver Bullet (Universal) (1985)

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Released 3-May-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 90:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Daniel Attias
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Gary Busey
Everett McGill
Corey Haim
Megan Follows
Robin Groves
Leon Russom
Terry O'Quinn
Bill Smitrovich
Joe Wright
Kent Broadhurst
Heather Simmons
James A. Baffico
Rebecca Fleming
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Jay Chattaway


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The year 1985 seems to have been a big year for adapting the more obscure works of Stephen King. Whereas Cat’s Eye was based on three short stories from the Night Shift collection, Silver Bullet is based on a novella published in 1983 in a limited hardcover edition complete with illustrations, entitled Cycle Of The Werewolf.

    Sadly, the adaptation bears very little resemblance to the novella I recall. This adaptation revolves around a kid in a hotted up wheelchair who thinks that the strange deaths around town have been caused by a werewolf. After shooting the werewolf’s eye out on 4th of July, he believes he is being stalked by it. He convinces his sister that something is up and finally his drunken Uncle Al buys in on it too.

    The end result? Garbage. Seriously, there is next to nothing redeeming about this movie. By the thirty minute mark I was begging for the werewolf to kill the kid (you know a film is good when you totally fail to empathise with the main character) so the film would end and my suffering would end with it. But no. It drags on through some truly atrocious acting that isn’t even lame enough to get a good laugh like those trashy Friday The 13th sequels. Actually, no, I was reduced to tears by the hilarity of the scene where the lynch mob gets massacred, which was so atrociously bad it was funny.

    Comedy? Horror? Farce? I have no idea. In his semi-autobiographical dissertation On Writing, Mr. King confesses to a high level of substance abuse around the time when he was writing Cujo, which is probably around the time this film was being adapted. I guess that explains a couple of things, but the director also wears much of the responsibility for the faults.

    Do yourselves a favour and read a book instead.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 2.30:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is very close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture quality is very smooth and very clean if a touch soft overall. Colour is natural and well balanced.

    The transfer was devoid of any real MPEG artefacts, but there was quite a bit of background moire effect and aliasing. There is some minor dirt and a few hairs here and there on the print, but nothing distracting.

    There are no subtitles on this single sided disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in English 2.0 Dolby Surround only.

    The audio track has clear dialogue and no obvious audio sync issues.

    The range is a touch flat - the growling of the werewolf sounds like it was done in a tin can, and there is not all that much in the way of directional cues. In fact, the whole thing feels fairly monaural.

    The overly sentimental, often synthesised music from the 1980s does little to help this film’s appeal. Jay Chattoway must have been desperate for a couple of bucks.

    There is no subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack. The scene selections menu has a small moving clip from each scene.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can tell, the R1 version is largely identical barring the NTSC/PAL format difference and the region coding.

Summary

    Silver Bullet just does not work. There are many reasons for its failure, but a lot of it seems to stem from an inability to decide whom the audience was. As a result, it’s just a confused, poorly acted, poorly scripted mess.

    The video is better than this film deserves.

    Audio is satisfactory.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, June 04, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
missing audio commentary - Steven Cameron (read my bio)