Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet

Released 1985

Review by: Fiji Mermaid

I will start off by saying this is a werewolf movie, if you couldn't figure that our from the title. It's actually one of the better werewolf movies that has come out in the last 20 yrs or so, but more importantly it's one of the better film adaptations of a Stephen King book. King's books traditionally don't translate well to film, with a few exceptions (Stand By Me, Christine, Shawshank Redemption and a tale I recall from Creepshow 2 and another from Cat's Eye). These are the exceptions and most of King's wonderful work is best left on paper.

The movie is based on King's book Cycle of the Werewolf. Marty (Corey Haim) is an 11 yr old handicapped boy who lives with his mother, father and sister Jane (Megan Follows) in the small town of Tarker's Mills. The film is narrated by the sister Jane as an older woman talking about how in Spring one year the town's long nightmare began. A drunk working on the railroad is found dead. His death is deemed an accident, as townspeople think he may have passed out on the train tracks, but as she explains, you realize it was murder. Later a woman in town is murdered in her home, followed by a man who runs a greenhouse in town. The police and public are scared and have no leads as to who the killer might be.

In July another murder occurs and this time it's a young boy, Marty’s best friend, Grady. Most folks are trying to get into the house before it gets dark, but one night Grady decides to continue hanging out at the park into dusk by himself. The decision proves very foolish as the Sheriff discovers Grady's corpse in the park. This ignites the public into carrying out some kind of "private justice" lynch mob as they, for reasons I'm not entirely clear about, head to the woods with guns and dogs hoping to find the killer. The werewolf as it turns out is there, but far more equipped for a forest/marsh battle with the town's folk and quickly kills a good amount of them. You can see a few scenes from this part of the film in the theatrical trailer. Those most recent killings cause the town to cancel the town carnival and fireworks show.

Marty's Uncle Red, in an attempt to cheer up his nephew, gives him a souped up wheelchair, which looks more like a mini three wheel motorcycle, along with some fireworks that he wants Marty to go shoot off for fun later. That evening Marty sneaks out of his house and takes his new wheelchair for a spin and goes way out to a bridge on the outskirts of town to shoot off his fireworks. The werewolf is there, perhaps drawn from the sound of the fireworks. He makes an attempt to kill Marty, but Marty quickly uses a bottle rocket as a weapon firing it into the monster's eye. This gives Marty enough time to get his wheelchair started up make a quick getaway. He tells the story to his sister, Jane, who believes most of the story, and can tell that Marty believes it wholeheartedly.

Jane and Marty decide that the way to find out who the werewolf is, is by looking at all the towns folk and looking for anyone with a damaged eye. Jane begins going around town collecting cans for the church, which is a great cover up for visiting people out of the blue. She doesn't find anyone and begins to kick herself for even believing a bit of Marty's story. She takes the cans to the church and terrifyingly finds out that that Reverend Lowe in fact now has an eye patch. She tells Marty about this and they agree he's the monster. They beginning sending anonymous letters to the Reverend telling him they know his secret and he should kill himself. It's at this point that both Jane and Marty tell their Uncle Red about the Reverend, the werewolf and what they've been involved in up to that point. Uncle Red doesn't believe them and thinks the story sounds far to insane to be true.

Rev. Lowe tracks down Marty and attempts to kill him while in human form, professing that his killing of people was for the good of God and their souls. A nearby farmer passes by when Lowe is about to kill Marty and scares the Rev. Lowe off. Marty and Jane tell Uncle Red about this recent attack and show him proof about the damage to Marty's wheelchair from Lowe's car. This is enough for the Uncle to go to the Sheriff and tell him the story, knowing full well it sounds crazy, but it's enough to have Rev. Lowe checked out. The Sheriff agrees to pay the Reverend a visit and just about the time he turns up some strange evidence Lowe attacks the Sheriff declaring the murders "not my fault". The werewolf emerges and claims another victim.

It's Marty's strong belief that Lowe will be planning to come after him in Halloween when the moon is full. He believes it's because Marty knows who he is and because he's hurt him. Uncle Red agrees to spend the night at Marty's house and get Marty's parents out of the house. Uncle Red has a silver bullet made and plans to stay up late with the kids on Halloween and wait for the monster to come... or not come. Halloween night comes and they stay up late until about 3am without incident. Uncle Red suddenly feels very dumb for going along with this whole story and says they should all go to bed, because there isn't any werewolf coming. He's dead wrong and the werewolf shows up and smashes his way into the house. Uncle Red puts up a valiant fight against the beast but drops the silver bullet in the process. Marty is able to retrieve the bullet and the gun and kill the werewolf by shooting him in the other eye. They watch in astonishment as the creature changes back into the Reverend. The movie closes with Jane and Marty hugging and declaring they love one another.

Theatrical Trailer

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