Most horror movies are exercises in unrelieved vulgarity, occasionally interrupted by perfunctory murders. This movie, to borrow an immortal comment by Mel Brooks, "rises below vulgarity." If you are sick up to here of horror movies in general and Steven King in particular, this is the movie for you.
Perhaps the major disappointment of Silver Bullet is that it never gets
as bad as the beginning promises. From playing on the precipice of so-bad-
it's-good, Silver Bullet bobs up to the level of conventionally mediocre-
bad, and remains there until the closing credits. [12 Oct 1985]
A werewolf story with a touch (just a touch) of a murder mystery vibe going for it. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does show off Stephen King's knack for coming up with likable characters and compelling storylines. The setup is similar to that of another one of the author's books, "Salem's Lot." It's about a small town being set upon by a predator. The movie misses out on showing us exactly how much the killings are effecting the overall town in favor of focusing on it's main characters. It's a movie I can't really criticize the film for and we do still get to hear about people leaving town and the curfew in effect. It just means that viewers won't likely get the full range of depth that was likely present in the written work.
There are quite a few bloody kills that are a bit of fun to watch. Despite the low-budget and dated effects (that rubber werewolf suit) the transformation scenes are pretty cool looking. Some of the actual deaths are pretty cheesy in a way that makes it hard to tell if they were intentionally meant to be funny or not. This, along with some hammy acting and goofier dialog make this another Stephen King story that was turned into a B-movie. Luckily, for us B-movies have their place in the horror genre, and this one has some surprising strengths.
The characters and plot here are really great. There are some sentimental moments born out of the fact that this really feels like a movie about family. Corey Haim and Megan Follows play a believable sibling duo thanks to the writing expressing the natural grievances real families have. Gary Busey is pretty great as the screwed up, but caring uncle. It's also really interesting to see themes on display here that King would later revisit in some of his more successful works.
All in all, it's a pretty great movie. Yeah, it's cheesy and a little dopey here and there, but the above average plot for a werewolf flick and a few good thrills make for an enjoyable watch. Provided you can put up with the B-movie moments. It definitely feels like a Stephen King story. Something I feel like I can't quite say about all of his adaptations. At least not this strongly. This makes it a must for his fans and still worth checking out for those who like their horror 80's style with a side of cheese.
To be fair, it must be acknowledged that there is a spectacular decapitation in the film's very first scene, and a couple of head-bashings later on, and these are enough to jolt one awake. But most of the film is so flatfooted that one longs for the batterings of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or at least the campy excesses of Fright Night. [14 Oct 1985, p.C6]
The film embraces itself as a dumb werewolf plot, but King's adapted screenplay plays it up for laughs, the production work is high quality, and the chemistry between Busey, Follows, and Haim is believable.
It's not a bad adaptation per se, but considering that the small novella on which it is based is not one of King's best literary works, let's say we are in a regular terrain.
Not good, not entirely bad.