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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: December 5th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1985

Silver Bullet: Collector's Edition - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

From a script by Stephen King, which he based on his novella, Silver Bullet follows the adventures of siblings, Jane and Marty, on the hunt for a werewolf terrorizing their otherwise quaint and sleepy town. Starring Gary Busey and a very young CoreyHaim, the creature feature is actually a deceptively amusing comedy horror and is all the more enjoyable for it. Just shy of its 40th anniversary, Scream Factory brings the cult horror favorite to 4K Ultra HD with gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR video, an excellent DTS-HD MA track and the same bonus features as the previous Blu-ray. Overall, this UHD edition is Recommended.

When a series of unexplained murders occurs in the normally quiet town of Tarker's Mill, the residents decide to hunt down the killer. However, many of these vigilantes end up dead, and those who don't are no closer to finding an assailant. But, when a young wheelchair-using boy named Marty (Corey Haim) encounters a werewolf one night, the pieces begin to come together. Along with his sister and Uncle Red (Gary Busey), Marty begins a mission to capture the werewolf once and for all.

 

DISC ONE (4K UHD):

  • NEW 2023 Transfer From The Original Camera Negative
  • In Dolby Vision (HDR-10 Compatible)
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
  • 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

DISC TWO (BLU-RAY):

  • NEW 2023 Transfer From The Original Camera Negative
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
  • 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

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free (UHD Only)
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10
Length:
94
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.35:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Special Features:
Blu-ray Copy
Release Date:
December 5th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Although I've watched Silver Bullet many times over the decades, I've only now become convinced the story about a small town terrorized by a werewolf is really more of a comedy horror. And it was one particular moment in the movie that brought me to that realization. At about a quarter in, after the murder of the fourth victim — a young boy who was best friends with our central protagonist — a vigilante posse forms to hunt whom the townspeople believe to be a human, and during their search, one small group is viciously attacked. The entire sequence with the creepy fog rolling through the forest plays like a quirky, tongue-in-cheek homage to The Wolf Man (1941), which already brought a smile to my face, along with a few giggles from the dialogue. But the moment that had me laughing out loud was when the werewolf took the baseball bat from one victim and then, began brutally bludgeoning the man with it. All we see, however, is only the werewolf's paw holding the bat and swinging down hard over a thick sea of fog while the man screams for dear life. And it's hilarious, like something out of Looney Tunes.

This is immediately followed by a funeral scene, which adds to the hilarity and all the funnier when mourners in a packed church suddenly start transforming into werewolves. It's a slow metamorphosis where everyone is making disturbingly furious, menacing faces at the reverend, as though attempting to look animalistic but only succeeding in looking like needing to run to the toilet. The whole thing is just too absurd and comical to be taken seriously, and it's never really clear if the comedy was intentional. And it certainly doesn't help that the script was penned by Stephen King, based on his novella Cycle of the Werewolf, who has a penchant for deceptively dark humor even in stories presumably meant to be serious, such as Cat's Eye, Maximum Overdrive and Sleepwalkers. The unintentional humor could also be the at-the-time inexperience of Dan Attias, who made his directorial debut here, never directed another film and whose only other credits prior to this was one episode of the Miami Vice TV series.

Whatever the case may be, the movie is nonetheless far more entertaining and enjoyable when seen as a comedy horror, especially when considering the complete lack of suspense or thrills throughout its 95-minute runtime. Corey Haim's Marty, who is the first to figure out the identity of the man behind the wolf, also adds another layer of humor with his witty and sarcastic comments, and the scene of him riding his custom motorbike wheelchair dubbed "Silver Bullet," popping wheelies down an empty road at what looks like nearly 60mph, is irresponsibly goofy fun. Then, when we meet Uncle Red (Gary Busey), his cynical remarks and hysterically inappropriate jokes keep me laughing, particularly when he gifts Marty the wheelchair bike and his skepticism about a werewolf being behind the murders. Marty's older sister Jane (Megan Follows) is likewise a delight although the least funny of the lot. However, as the narrator of the tale, which takes place in the spring of 1976, I find it oddly funny her adult voice, which most likely is set in 1985, sounds as though she's in her late thirties when ideally, she'd be in her early to mid 20s. It's not really important, but it's something that feels necessary to mention.

As for the rest of Silver Bullet, King's script is not terribly interesting, as it, too, never really finds the proper consistent tone, bouncing between wanting to be a creature feature and a coming-of-age drama about siblings while mixing in a splash of (unintentional) comedy. The special effects of the transformation have also not aged well, which even for 1985 standards were rather silly, looking very much like a person dressed in a cheaply made costume from the discount rack at K-Mart. One of the production's saving grace, however, is the beautiful photography by Armando Nannuzzi (La Cage aux Folles), one aspect I found myself really admiring and appreciating in this recent viewing. The performances, too, especially that of a very young Haim opposite an enthusiastic Busey and a grim, dreary Everett McGill, who plays Reverend Lowe, are charming enough to sustain a viewer's interest until the finale, which frankly, ends somewhat abruptly and with very little payoff. Nevertheless, the Stephen King horror flick remains a memorable cult horror favorite that still manages to entertain even if unintentionally.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Scream Factory brings Stephen King's Silver Bullet to 4K Ultra HD as a two-disc Collector's Edition combo pack. The Region Free, UHD100 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region A locked, BD50 disc on the opposing panel, and both discs are housed inside the standard black keepcase with a cardboard slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a silent static screen with the usual selection along the bottom and music playing in the background.

Video Review

Ranking:

The cult horror favorite rides into the sleepy town of Ultra HD with a souped-up, gorgeous HEVC H.265 encode, thanks to a brand-new restoration and remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives. Compared to its HD SDR brethren from 2019, this native 4K transfer arrives with better, spot-on contrast and brightness balance, showering daylight scenes with lots of brilliantly intense, squeaky-clean whites, making the entire movie look as though it was shot recently. Adding that little bit of punch to every scene, specular highlights are crisp and radiant, giving the hottest spots a tight, vivid glow without engulfing the finer details and a realistic sheen along metallic surfaces. Blacks are richer and truer throughout with inky, dark shadows while maintaining excellent visibility within the murkiest corners of the frame. 

The Dolby Vision HDR presentation also supplies the action with a wider, fuller array of colors, particularly the sumptuous reds of various clothing and the flames of Marty's motorcycle wheelchair. Likewise, the secondary hues are more vibrant and lively, showing great variation between all the browns, tans and oranges while facial complexions appear healthy with a lifelike peachy-rosiness in the entire cast and revealing the tiniest, negligible blemish. The video is highly detailed throughout with clean, razor-sharp lines exposing every nook and cranny of the kids' house, the smallest defects of the town's buildings and the individual leaves and blades of grass. Awash in a fine layer of natural, more refined grain, the 2.35:1 image has an attractive film-like quality that fans will appreciate. Overall, this is a surprisingly beautiful and outstanding 4K presentation of a mostly-forgotten werewolf flick. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 92/100)

Audio Review

Ranking:

Silver Bullet carries over the same DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack as its Blu-ray predecessor, and it remains a fantastic listen. Although the design is a front-heavy presentation maintained in the center of the screen, imaging nonetheless feels relatively broad and open, and the background activity comes through clearly and cleanly. The mid-range is impressively extensive with excellent fidelity and definition in the upper frequencies, maintaining great clarity during the loudest segments, which are every time the werewolf howls or Marty races down the road on his motorcycle wheelchair. Vocals are always distinct and very well prioritized so that we don't miss out on every silly joke or sarcastic comment. There isn't much by way of bass, but the little there is offers enough of an oomph to supply the action with some appreciable weight. Applying the receivers' Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality widens the front soundstage a bit although it's not by much, but it expands some of the background noise without seeming forced or artificial, which is really nice. (Audio Rating: 80/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

The same collection of bonus features enjoyed on the 2020 Blu-ray release are joined by a new commentary track for this UHD edition.

4K UHD DISC

  • NEW Audio Commentary features Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler, the host of The Kingcast podcast focused on all things related to Stephen King.
  • Audio Commentary with director Daniel Attias
  • Audio Commentary with producer Martha De Laurentiis
  • Isolated Score also features an audio interview with composer Jay Chattaway

Blu-ray Disc

  • Audio Commentaries: the same three tracks mentioned above.
  • Full Moon Fever (HD, 21 min)
  • Cutting to the Bone (HD, 17 min)
  • The Wolf Within (HD, 16 min)
  • A Little Private Justice (HD, 12 min)
  • Still Gallery (HD)
  • Trailers (HD, 3 min) houses a theatrical preview, a TV ad and a pair radio spots

Based on the Stephen King novella, Silver Bullet follows the adventures of siblings, Jane and Marty, on the hunt for a werewolf terrorizing their otherwise quaint and sleepy town. Starring Gary Busey and a very young Corey Haim, the movie features the typical trappings of a creature feature, but King's tale is actually a deceptively amusing comedy horror and is all the more enjoyable when watched as such. Just shy of its 40th anniversary, Scream Factory brings the cult horror favorite to 4K Ultra HD with a surprisingly gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR presentation but the same DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and bonus features as its Blu-ray predecessor. Nevertheless, this UHD edition makes for a Recommended addition to the library.

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.