Stephen King is a pop culture entity that is guaranteed to stay in the public consciousness for a very long time. Every few years he fades in to the background for a while, and then re-emerges to take pop culture by storm. The last few years have been yet another Stephen King renaissance with the new popularity of classic novels, the smashing popularity of “It” and the re-release of a lot of his famous and infamous cinematic entries. Everything from “Christine” to “Maximum Overdrive” has been given a physical release, and it’s a lot of to see how much King has carved his way in to pop culture, with various hits and stumbles. “Sleepwalkers” is a stumble.
You can’t even really call “Riding the Bullet” a horror film, when all is said and done. Like most of Stephen King’s semi-autobiographical tales, Mick Garris’ adaptation is a contemplation on mortality and nostalgia from a more innocent time. “Riding the Bullet” is less about scaring, and is more focused on a selfish stoner, with an Oedipus complex and a fixation on death. And King conveys his fear of death by trying to dig in to the audience’s fear of death. I imagine the character in “Riding the Bullet” is closer to King than any other story he’s ever written, but that’s merely an assumption on my part. “Riding the Bullet” has interesting intent and good performances, but it’s more a tragedy bereft of scares.