Thursday, August 31, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Decades after the original film, someone is beginning to kill campers, but could it be Angela?
Review: Completely ignoring the events of parts 2-4 (not that it's hard to ignore 4), "Return to Sleepaway Camp" tries to recreate the tone and seriousness associated with the original. As such, a major component of the plot is the whodunnit aspect; though, I was able to guess the identity of the killer instantly, and I'm guessing most horror veterans will too. While I do appreciate the general attempt at making this series horror-focused once again, the film doesn't fully succeed in presenting a worthwhile entry. Oh, sure, the kills are somewhat creative, and it's amusing to see idiots get what's coming to them, but the story and characters lack that charm from part 2 and some of the material feels like a retread. Likewise, the twist, while doable, is nowhere near as startling as the original. What I would have loved to see is a blending of part 1's tone with part 2's charm and quirky characters.
One genuinely positive thing was that there were plenty of red herrings that could have worked as the killer. On the other hand, it's a bit pointless to introduce so many potential suspects when it's painfully obvious Angela is still the killer. Alternatively, someone should have been working with Angela to make the final reveal have a form of relevance. For example, why not give her an accomplice and link a connection between her in a way that brings things full circle? Maybe utilizing Angela's mom or the dad's gay lover or even the aunt. In fact, why bring back a bunch of actors from the original if they're ultimately pointless? I mean, they brought back Ricky who claimed he visits Angela every week. This would imply that Angela managed to escape a mental institute, get a disguise, convince a town she is the sheriff, insert herself into coincidental camp shenanigans, arrange to be on the camp grounds in the first place, and organize all of her kills...all in the span of a week at most?! Yeaaaaah...okaaaaaay. I'll take "Things That Could Never Happen" for $200, Alex.
Don't get me wrong, I did appreciate bringing the actors back--it made this feel like a true sequel. Also, the other nods like Big Pussy, a death right out of "1984," and Chef from "South Park" are humorous in their own way. But these kind of things don't necessarily create lovable victim fodder. The main kid everyone is picking on--retarded or not, I don't know what that was supposed to be--is made out to be an asshole half the time. It's kind of hard to feel bad for the bullied kid when he's also a bully too! This reminded me of the mean-spirited vibe of part 3. Is it so hard to give the audience characters to root for? They should have made the bullied kid likable in a dweeby way which could be used as a motive to set Angela off. Instead, it's just by chance that Angela stumbled upon a camp full of assholes in need of dying.
Overall, this is an okay entry, but it's kind of annoying that the filmmakers decided to ignore part 2. Come to think of it, I hate it when franchises will arbitrarily ignore sequels like fucking "Halloween!" The kills are decent, and there are plenty, but there's still a low-budget style. The acting does leave much to be desired, but I can get over it I suppose. There were a bunch of cute background girls, and the opening sequence did have a song about "Sleepaway Camp" so there's that too. Eh, I'd say this installment is worth a watch but only for those who want to complete the series.
Notable Moment: When that one chick is killed by a spike bed. I'm always a sucker for spike beds...they just don't get enough love!
Final Rating: 5.5/10
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A dark day has come...
Review: I have been dreading this moment for years but the time has come. Here goes...this is the WORST MOVIE EVER! And you bet your sweet ass that is saying something drastic! It didn't even dawn on me until after the credits began rolling. Unlike pure shit like "Howling 7," "Asian School Girls," or "Severed," I was so stunned by the overwhelming levels of idiocy that it took a few moments for the gravity of the situation to sink in. I'm still trying to suppress the insatiable, homicidal rage!
Wha--what is this?! This isn't a goddamn movie. This is nothing more than shitacular editing of scenes from the previous installments interspersed with shots of some chick in a bikini sunbathing. I mean, maybe if the girl had been of, say, Manami Hashimoto quality that would have been different...but she's not even hot! Then, at the end, there is something with a ranger...who's not really a ranger...and a random hunter that is scared. Next thing you know, bikini girl is standing around in her underwear with a knife, kills that hunter or whatever, and goes after the alleged ranger. The end? THE END?! What the fuck?! Big shock, the clips from the previous entries look like shit and make no sense at all. They set up the edits like their flashbacks but then the edits can sometimes cut back to other entries. Soooo...flashbacks within flashbacks--fashback-ception? Argh. Surprise, surprise, the audio is like two kids talking in a cup connected by string, the acting isn't even as good as the dogs in "Air Bud" part 20, and the film quality consists of a generous helping of Vaseline covering a potato. Oh god...
At first I considered a higher score because clips of the previous installments are at least worth some points...right? Then I figured why should I reward such absolute laziness when it leads to a greater problem: the whole fucking movie is padding! Oh sure, this was unfinished footage and never intended to be a feature. However, this didn't stop someone from trying to sell this disaster. For that audacity...that unabashed shamelessness...I will not simply forgive anything! SC4 is the unquestionable and uncontested dumbest thing I have ever forced myself to watch. It lacks every single definable quality of a true motion picture. There are fucking snuff films out there with better quality. The average, amateur porn from Ethel and Arthur has more believable acting. The only--and let me stress this--the ONLY reason I didn't give this a damn 0/10 was due to the chick being at least passably attractive. That's it. What an absolute disgrace to all of cinema. I could have said so much more about this trash fire, but I'm already doing everything I can to contain myself from lashing out. To paraphrase Tommy Jarvis, "'Sleepaway Camp 4' belongs in hell...and I'm going to see that it gets there."
Notable Moment: The notable moment is that I didn't stab someone after enduring this nightmare.
Final Rating: 0.5/10
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Angela is back, yet again, as she pretends to be a camper for some kind of outreach program.
Review: Realistically, "Sleepaway Camp" isn't exactly the kind of film series in need of multiple installments, however, part 3 isn't terrible. Sure, it's not good either, but, as far as part 3s of 80's slasher franchises go, this is acceptable levels of cheesiness. More or less, the tone is exactly the same as SC2 except that the new characters are nowhere near as fun or likable. In fact, the characters are outright fucking annoying. I mean, c'mon, did anyone really want to see the tit patrol get killed in part 2?! Here, I just want everyone to die right away. Angela is also more annoying, stupid, and is defeated idiotically. Not sure what they were thinking at the end.
On the plus side, we do have even more topless girls including Jill Terashita who was that sexy chick in "Night of the Demons." Some of these characters did have potential to be amusing, but there isn't as much time given to showcase them. It's tough to adequately express since you could argue what exactly made, say, the "shit sisters" likable in part 2? Well, characters like the shit sisters were acceptable levels of goofiness. Part 3's lineup are too mean-spirited I guess. Maybe it was the lack of a true camp setting that screws things up. All I know is that I wanted Angela and her band of merry morons to all bite the big one which is a fail. This doesn't mean there isn't still a degree of charm and personality here and there. I simply wished they did something different to push the story line further and in a new direction. I'd say this leaned closer to a part 2.5 then a true part 3. They couldn't even utilize the one kid's dad, mentioned in part 2, properly. By the way, he should have easily been able to kill Angela given he was a cop and within, like, what, a couple feet of closing distance?! Stupid.
If you enjoyed part 2 then there's a decent chance you'll like this entry too. It's not as entertaining, the characters suck, and it lacks that true, fun factor, however, the film still has a few moments to shine. The deaths are on the lame side, yet, there are a considerable amount of them to compensate. I want to say the chicks are hotter this time around, but that's a matter of preference I suppose; almost everyone was a blonde in part 2 and part 3 has a better variety. Finally, it's probably best to envision parts 1-3 as their own trilogy since the following entries after this are...unique...to say the least.
Notable Moment: When Angela and a couple fodder characters find a hockey mask in the lake and talk about it being Saturday the 14th. Cute.
Final Rating: 5.5/10
Monday, August 28, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: After years of therapy, and a sex change, Angela returns to camp...as a killer counselor.
Review: While there is no mind-blowing twist, creepy scenes, or even decent special effects, SC2 is surprisingly just as good as part 1...but for completely different reasons. The original is kind of its own thing while part 2 takes on a more comedy-horror approach. In a way, the filmmakers fully embraced the cheesiness at hand, having fun with the material. However, the main entertainment factor is with the amusing and likable characters. There are a ton of them too yet it's easy to keep track of them due to their individualistically (what kind of fucking word am I writing?), goofy characteristics. My favorite characters are, of course, the "tit patrol!" The tit patrol consists of these two, awkwardly horny boys taking Polaroids of the skanks around camp. But they're more than just simple pervs...they feel believable and nail that, deliberately, annoying line delivery perfectly. By the time everyone has been killed, I'm actually a bit disappointed to see them all go. Dare I say, they're lovable victim fodder?
Not to be overshadowed, Angela herself is no longer a quiet weirdo. Instead, she is cracking one-liners with the best of 'em. They even spoof the other slasher icons along the way with nods to Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. Not sure how a scrawny twig like Angela could kill everyone in camp by herself but okay. The primary story could have been thought out better as there is no clear logic to how Angela could become a camp counselor. Who cares though, right? The deaths are admittedly lame, but I can forgive a small budget. The girls are cute--not really my type--and are topless quite a bit. Can't overlook that...and my boys, the tit patrol, are on the case! There is a general air of shenanigans run amok at certain times, however, it's all in good fun. I promise. Finally, the ending is disappointing when there could have easily been a big climax. Oh well.
Honestly, with a bigger budget, and slightly better acting, SC2 could have actually been better than the original. Alas, it falls short without that twist to cinch things. I can see many not liking part 2 due to all the reasons I love it, but this is a clear distinction between early '80s and late '80s. Pick your poison. Don't get me wrong, SC2 is not a conventionally good film...it simply has a charm and personality that makes it enjoyable. I mean, it's tough to write characters that viewers will want to see die but also want them to continue eating up scenery. For all these reasons and more, I actually highly recommend SC2 to the audiences that will appreciate the cornball nature of '80s slasher sequels.
Notable Moment: Anything and everything with the "tit patrol." Those two kids are awesome! But, come to think of it, why are they like the only actual "kids" at this camp? Why is everyone else high school age or whatever? What kind of fucking camp is this?!
Final Rating: 6/10
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Years after a bizarre boating accident, a girl and her cousin stay at a camp with a mysterious killer on the loose.
Review: With summer coming to a close, I figured I'd at least tackle something befitting of the season. In this instance, I'm going to tackle the "Sleepaway Camp" series which mostly falls into the cult classic category. Although it's gaining more notoriety, the first entry is basically the one you will want to focus on. Sure, the sequels are passable--and I do actually love part 2--but part 1 is all about that surprise twist you will not see coming at all. Despite the ease to which you can guess the killer's identity, the real twist is in regards to her motive.
It's a shame that this film was initially viewed as another "Friday the 13th" ripoff. It's actually quite cleverly put together and does not fit the classic mold of '80s slashers. Yes, it does depict the whodunnit style, yet, once you know who the killer is, you can re-watch the film and gain an entirely different perspective of the story. That's quite an impressive feat. For example, certain word choices, looks, or approaches to scenes are given better context, and you realize just how much subtlety was implemented. On top of that, there are lots of cool nuances like the killer's shadow forming in the doorway or the creepy head that pops up when the one guy dies under the canoe.
As for the big reveal...it's all about bringing the story full circle which I always adore. The most obvious suspect, Angela, really does turn out the be the killer. In the beginning of the film we see a brother/sister combo and their dad playing on the water right before the father is killed along with one of the siblings dying. It's implied that the sister, Angela, lived, but we come to realize it was actually the brother, Peter, who survived. All this time, Angela is really Peter dressed up to be a girl. Presumably, the sister's name wasn't really Angela either. All of this connects with Peter's crazy aunt not wanting to take care of another boy and deciding to raise Peter as a girl. Couple this mental abuse with Peter's father being gay and Peter tries to rationalize being dressed up as a girl and possibly being romantically attracted to another boy. This revelation is presented well and is intriguing. Furthermore, there is a level of depth to this plot twist that can be heavily analyzed.
Unfortunately, "Sleepaway Camp" is heavily flawed. The acting is mostly trash from everyone, the music is not edited into the scenes coherently (especially that opening title sequence!), many effects are weak, there are numerous contrivances in play to mask Angela as the killer, certain plot elements do not feasibly make sense, and, for the most part, the events of the film are bland until the finale puts everything into perspective. Just to name a few personal gripes: how did Ricky never realize Angela was a boy? Wasn't he ever in a situation where he wondered where Angela came from and what became of Peter and the rest of the family? After all, Ricky appears to be a normal kid. While on the subject of Ricky, why is Angela going to camp at all? It's explained Ricky was going to camp alone all these years yet they're bringing Angela along now...why? How has Angela maintained this deception for so long without once going into an outburst? Speaking of which, why did Angela decide to start killing now? It always bugged me that she killed those random kids sleeping when all of her other victims wronged her in some way; this makes her less sympathetic. Finally, how the fuck would there be some guy who is openly a pedophile roaming around?!
All things considered, "Sleepaway Camp" is surprisingly better than most of its cheap, slasher contemporaries. It's one of the rare instances where you will automatically feel compelled to watch a movie twice in a manner reminiscent to "The Sixth Sense." The attention to detail within the dialogue, and other plot aspects, creates a truly memorable twist and infamous identity reveal. Of course, this is still '80s cheese at its core so it's loaded with shenanigans. Some of it is amusing like the antics with the background characters or the unforgivably atrocious outfits some kids and counselors are wearing. I mean, fuck, it's tough to imagine someone would wear this shit and think it's okay. Seriously...knee-high socks, cutoff short-shorts, and a midriff-exposed, cutoff t-shirt...all on a fully grown man...really?! Yuck. As such, the flaws are heavy and aplenty, but the good outweighs the bad without a doubt. If you're a fan of '80s horror then this a must-see.
Notable Moment: The ending, of course, with "Angela" revealed and hissing mindlessly at the camera. Not sure why she was doing that, but it's a great twist that definitely blew many people away.
Final Rating: 6/10
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Unsuspecting victims in the USA fall prey to some of Japan's most famous urban legends.
Review: Up front, do not be misled by that title. This film is more akin to an anthology, and the slit mouth woman serves as only a segment/wraparound. As with similar instances in the past, I was intrigued by an East meets West production and this held much potential. Unfortunately, this film is ridiculously low-budget, full of idiocy, and a total waste of that aforementioned potential. Yet, at the same time, I can appreciate what the filmmakers were striving for and the core premise is creative. Furthermore, the filmmakers were having fun with the material, and I can't completely fault them when they understood this was never going to be a mainstream hit.
Slit Mouth Woman (Kuchisake-onna): So the slit mouth woman is supposed to be some kind of disfigured woman, or supernatural entity, that will ask you if she's beautiful. Depending on your answer, she will use her huge shears to slice your face up like hers. There have been many movies about her, though, I've yet to review one. In this instance, some blonde girl believes she is transforming into the titular character. Though the production is home video levels, I kind of enjoyed the premise at hand, and the makeup effects were passable. Between each of the other segments, we cut back and forth to this story with blondie here becoming increasingly disturbed. By the end, she does become the slit mouth woman, however, I did not understand how any of this was happening whatsoever. Blondie's sister was using the power of suggestion or something...? I don't know. I mean, the sister is studying Japanese urban legends, kills blondie, carves up blondie's body and dresses her to look like the slit mouth woman, and then blondie's ghosts actually comes back as the slit mouth woman....I guess. There is a third sister, who we will get to later, but I'm not sure how that was supposed to all connect. Nevertheless, this was okay for what it's worth, but, goddamn, I was about to turn into the slit mouth man if I had to hear blondie scream "MONICA!" one more time!
Kokkuri-san: More or less, Kokkuri-san is supposed to be the ghostly force within a Japanese equivalent of the ouija board. A bunch of movies have this in it--sometimes just for the shits and giggles. Plus, other Asian countries have their own equivalent. Well, Kokkuri-san contributes next to nothing in the plot as it's pretty much a lesbian love triangle with a couple dweeby guys dragged along to raise the body count. We have three chicks working in a maid cafe--mmhmm...maid cafe. Seriously, do those exist in the USA and where do I find one?! Anyway, the three girls are in love with one another or something, but someone starts to kill them off. The editing is already pretty much shit throughout the entirety of the film, however, it's especially bad in this segment. You will think there is an unknown party as the killer never explained, but this is simply due to horrendous editing accompanied by confusing storytelling. In essence, one of the girls is jealous that the other two are dating, kills one of them, and then that first victim returns as some kind of onryo/zombie hybrid. After killing a bunch of people, the ghost is defeated by the last maid pretending to not be a lesbian any longer. Right. The girls are cute, but this segment was especially stupid since it had almost nothing to do with the urban legend. Also, I don't fully understand how the slit mouth woman connected into this tale as they implied.
Furen the Evil Hunter: I tried to look this up since the only urban legends I know about are ones featured in movies. From what I can tell, there doesn't really appear to be any urban legend associated with this entry. If anybody knows, share it with me. What we do get is a spiritualist coming to the USA to supposedly deal with these Japanese, supernatural forces; somehow this involves the devil, an evil priest, and zombies. I guess the filmmakers wanted to indulge the action genre with some DBZ-esque shenanigans and the spiritualist, revealing his name to be Onmyoji, blasts the devil back to hell with a wannabe kamehameha wave. Why not, right? Would have been funnier if they had this guy fighting the slit mouth woman. Despite the overwhelming levels of cheese, I thought this segment was amusing due to the fish out of water setup.
Umeko's Friends: With the final segment, I don't really understand what was supposed to be going on. I guess Umeko is supposed to be a Sadako wannabe? Hell, was that even a Japanese girl under that wig and makeup? Regardless, the plot reminded me of the "Hagane" segment in "Kowai Onna." Some guy helps a Japanese man stranded on the road. With promises of good food and a cute sister, the guys decides to go home with the Japanese man. There, the food is rice with locusts, and the sister, Umeko, acts creepy with giant, disheveled hair. Immediately, the sister loves the guy and tries to bang him but is rejected. Later on, the guy is with his girlfriend when Umeko and her brother try to start trouble. This results in the brother using a kind of voodoo doll to hurt the main guy. Out of nowhere, the one lesbian from the maid cafe brings Onmyoji over to help fight the spell. During this spiritual battle, Umeko's brother dies and Umeko wants revenge, somehow transforming into her own Sadako/slit mouth woman hybrid. In this form, Umeko manages to kill the main guy and his girlfriend and then hangs out with their dead bodies. Finally, it's worth explaining that Umeko is supposed to be the third sister to blondie who became the slit mouth woman. Could have definitely put more effort into linking all the segments, that's for sure.
Overall, I see this film as a missed opportunity. The idea of Japanese urban legends somehow spreading to the USA was awesome, but the phenomenon is not properly explained in the story. I mean, why was any of this happening in the first place? They build up this mystery throughout yet do not deliver. Two of the best Japanese urban legends, teke teke and Hanako, should have been included in place of the spiritualist and Umeko. There needed to be a bigger budget for the production, and the red screen edits were atrocious. Just fucking transition your shots! I am going a bit easy with my rating since I appreciate the effort put forth and ideas at hand; I'll cut the filmmakers slack for their ambitious approach as well. I can't recommend this, but, then again, I watched this on Amazon Prime so if you want to kill some time on a plane ride, or whatever, there's that.
Notable Moment: When Onmyoji even makes a joke about how all they need is Sadako to complete this cast of zany creatures he's fighting. What's kind of funny is that a lot of Asians will reference Sadako as the archetype of long-haired ghosts, yet non-Asians I hear say, "she looks like 'The Grudge'."
Final Rating: 5/10
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: After their father's disappearance, two brothers stumble across a video board game that comes to life.
Review: Here we go again..."Beyond the Gates" could--no, should--have been something extraordinary! Instead, this was an enormous waste of potential and indescribable letdown. With a story that had all the makings of a love letter to the 1980s, I can't understand what the hell happened. Yeah, the budget was peanuts, but, still, virtually everything is off--from the tone to the style to the general aesthetics. Other than a couple synth tracks and the VHS tapes, there's nothing else worthwhile. I mean, I'm picturing this shit to be like "Jumanji" meets "Night of the Demons" or something along those lines. What we get is a whole lot of bullshitting in order to eat up a ridiculously short running time. Seriously, take away the end and opening credits (which were cool by the way), and you're left with a 75 minute film comprised of mostly unrealistic yapping. Argh.
In fairness, the core premise is fucking amazing! You have a cursed, or haunted, video board game that comes to life, altering reality in deadly ways. Two brothers, kids of a father who owned a video rental store (with an affinity for the VHS medium), are dragged into this game in order to free their missing father and save their own lives. Unfortunately, we do not get some epic adventure or bizarre story reminiscent of "The Dungeonmaster." Oh no. The brothers don't start the game until the 25 minute mark and inconsistently take the game seriously for the majority of the running time. They don't even enter the game world until 70 minute mark, goddamnit!
So what are the filmmakers wasting their time dealing with? Pointless family drama that is not executed properly at all. They act like this hunt for the father and having to kill him is somehow dramatic and cathartic. I'm thinking, we don't know jackshit about this dude except that he sure loved VHS. Yeaaaah, just having a character say it was "tough" growing up ain't fucking cuttin' it in my book...not when your dealing with this kind of badass premise. There are also all manner of shenanigans that go nowhere like that dweeby store owner trying to act creepy, why the father had a picture of the chick from the game, and what was the big deal with the video store? There are so many holes in the plot that it's as if every third page of the script were ripped out.
But what really irked me was the complete debacle of paying tribute to the '80s that the filmmakers clearly wanted to depict. Sure, the characters making references to fake movies would have been nicer with real movies--I can overlook that--but where is the cheese factor? Where is the fun or the over the top? Where is the heart? "Beyond the Gates" has little soul. The acting wasn't doing any favors either.
You know what, I can't even declare this a failure...I want this shit redone. FIX THIS! Remake this movie again with a bigger budget and someone who can properly capture the tone and style of the '80s. Get the crew behind "The Void" or "Stranger Things" or just anyone who understands how to do this era justice. Here, I'll help. Skip all the "dramatic" bullshit at the beginning--start the movie off with the brothers (cool with each other and with fun, playful banter) going through the father's video store and discovering the game as your opening scene. Get rid of the girlfriend character and everyone else; they're useless and stupid. Make the brothers go into a surreal world where the video woman appears ethereal and serves as their guide/antagonist. Keep the thing with 4 keys except make each key a neon-colored VHS tape and contained inside an '80s-centric area: maybe a slasher area paying tribute to masked killers, a sci-fi world that is like "Aliens" meets "Tron," a lighthearted, treasure hunt area similarly to "The Goonies" meets "The A-Team," and, last, an action world fighting terrorists and/or ninjas. Or crank this shit up to eleven and mix and match ideas; think "Jem" fighting Jason or Indiana Jones meets DnD. The potential is endless! As the brothers fight their way through the worlds, they claim the keys, get some girls, free the dad, and, hell, save the damn world! Why not, right?
I'm giving "Beyond the Gates" a mediocre rating simply due to my profound love for the basic premise. However, that's about all she wrote for this movie. There are a few decent aspects here and there, but, fundamentally, the filmmakers dropped the ball. This movie is nothing at all as one might imagine or hope it to be. The production is pure amateur hour through and through. Typically, I can forgive this shortcoming but not when the story dicks around with unnecessary scenes, pointless bullshit, and plain meandering with the material. I don't recommend this film since it is nothing more than a disappointment waiting to happen. What a shame.
Notable Moment: When the brothers first walk into the father's video store and are surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of VHS tapes. What a beautiful sight.
Final Rating: 5/10
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A small town is plagued by murders and only a paraplegic boy realizes the killer is actually a werewolf.
Review: For the most part, "Silver Bullet" is as generic as a werewolf movie can come, however, what saves the story is the amusing dynamic between Corey Haim and Gary Busey. I mean, Gary Busey is pretty much playing Gary Busey, but somehow this enhances the entertainment value rather than detracting from it. Don't get me wrong, there are good ideas spread throughout the film; for example, making the identity of the werewolf a pivotal plot point. But, come on, son, they couldn't even produce a solid werewolf costume! Sometimes the werewolf looks like a damn bear in the shadows, but, when brought into the foreground, he's looking like a scrawny twig and fake as fuck. Also, the constant cuts to the werewolf's eyes and other limbs demonstrates a lack of a proper, and complete, special effect.
Now, "Silver Bullet" is based on a story by Stephen King, but the film only loosely follows the events of the story. This is especially bizarre given that Mr. King also wrote the screenplay. Nevertheless, cooler elements like the werewolf killing people on each holiday are dropped. The main character, Marty, played by Mr. Haim, uses a motorcycle-esque wheelchair to get around which is unique. Having Marty as a paraplegic does offer a degree of originality, yet, there is, realistically, only one scene that fully plays up the potential; we see Marty watching a bunch of kids play baseball and he stares at them longingly. I'm not sure why the sister is the narrator of the events since Marty and the uncle, played by Gary Busey, are the heart of the story. It's tough to adequately express, but Marty and the uncle felt believable together--a genuine sense of love formed from an established relationship between them. This kind of depiction is hard to display in even the best of movies.
The kills are acceptable...I guess...but the gravity of the situation is never instilled properly. Like, the town sheriff, played by John fucking Locke, is just chilling out while his townspeople are being turned into wolfy chow? Or that trash-talking asshole would simply carry on as usual after a bunch of people are slaughtered in front of him? And Marty's best friend is shredded and Marty is mad about fireworks?! AND the uncle is making jokes the same day as the dead friend's funeral?! Yeaaaah, okaaaay. The whole town is supposed to be scared, angry, and paranoid, however, every scene and character reaction would imply the opposite to be true. Should have called in the damn Monster Squad to take care of this shit. "Only one way to kill a werewolf." Damn right, Rudy! Speaking of which, the reveal of the werewolf's identity is done well despite the shoddy effects I previously mentioned.
In the end, "Silver Bullet" is not going to blow your mind and lacks the '80s charm since the events are supposed to take place in the '70s. Despite this, the actors are able to create a different kind of magic through the character interactions. This felt like a real family and, thus, made the characters endearing and you want to see them survive. While the werewolf design needed improvement, and the film's tone needed major adjustments, the film gets the job done in presenting a decent werewolf tale.
Notable Moment: When Reverend Lowe dreams that everyone in town transforms into werewolves during a funeral. Cool scene...though there is a hint of over the top cheesiness.
Final Rating: 6/10