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31 Days of Horror Movies | Day Two: An American Werewolf in Paris

October 2, 2012 4 comments

An American Werewolf in London is arguably a definitive werewolf movie. It’s put in appearances on many a “Top XX Horror Movies” list, has garnered enough of a following to call for a nostalgia laced retrospective documentary that serves as a sort of “Where are they now?” for those involved with the making of the film, and it seems as though even those who don’t enjoy it as much as others will still make mention of the acclaimed (and Academy Award winning) makeup design by Rick Baker. So it stands to reason that any other film to be made, be it follow-up or sequel or even something entirely different, that has the same rules and same general idea behind it, and is made a whopping sixteen years later, should have even better effects and be at least equally as good, right?

With tonight’s film, An American Werewolf in Paris, we learn that’s not necessarily true.

Details:

Year Released: 1997
Written By: Anthony Waller, Tim Burns, Tom Stern
Directed By: Anthony Waller
Starring: Tom Everett Scott, Julie Delpy
Trailer:

Plot:

Andy McDermott and his pals are on the trip of a lifetime, as the three of them travel across Europe as part of a “Daredevil World Tour”. Andy’s friends give him a hard time about not racking up enough “Daredevil Points” on their trip thus far, but he reveals that he has a plan that will put him in the lead: Bungee jumping off of the Eiffel Tower! The stunt doesn’t go as planned, however, as the three men come across a lonely french woman who attempts to leap to her death. Andy jumps after her and completes a harrowing mid-air rescue, as his friends then rescue him from an unfastened bungee cord. The woman runs away leaving nothing behind but a single shoe, a suicide note, and a serious head injury as Andy bumps into a beam while he slingshots skyward after the rescue.

Later, while in the hospital, Andy fears she may try it again. So he sends his dutiful pals to collect the suicide note that was left behind at the scene. After a brief montage of them searching for the note (set to “Walkin’ On The Sun” by Smash Mouth), they find it, learn that her name is Serafine, and are able to use it to find out where she lives. When Andy is out of the hospital and well enough, the three of them track her down and go to her house. When she answers the door, she has red goop on her hands and when Andy asks her about it, she swears it’s just red paint (seems legit). He tells her that if something were to happen to her and he didn’t do absolutely everything within his power to stop it, he’d never be able to live with himself. So she agrees to meet him at a nearby cafe the next day. This meeting goes horribly, as Andy awkwardly tries to be the cool guy that every French girl likes (according to his friends), and eventually ends with a large man picking a fight with Andy and is tossed halfway across the room. By Serafine. After her superhuman display, Serafine freaks out and runs away, warning Andy that he should forget about her.

So of course, Andy and his buds return to Serafine’s house the next chance they get. As they ring the bell and hope they’re not too late to save Serafine from certain death, they are met with a brutish looking man named Claude who, upon learning the three lads are from America, exclaims “I love Americans!” and then invites them to a party that only Americans are invited to. The party is at an exclusive club called “Club de la Lune”. They decline, until Claude tells them “Serafine will be there.” The boys agree to attend the party, on the night of a full moon, at a club no one has ever heard of called “Club de la Lune”, by a mysterious man who “loves Americans” and is somehow tied to a woman who displayed superhuman strength a mere few hours prior.

What could possibly go wrong?

Thoughts:

Listen, I struggled with this one. The wikipedia page for the film calls it a sequel to An American Werewolf in London and even goes so far as to say that Serafine is the daughter of David Kessler and Alex Price, but while I have heard this rumor from other sources, it is never once mentioned in the film or any of the deleted scenes that I have seen. I simply don’t count this as a sequel, or even a follow-up, to An American Werewolf in London other than the overall tone of the story and the plot device of some Americans being attacked by a werewolf in a European city. To me, this movie has always read as more of a love letter to the John Landis classic than a follow-up of any kind. If I had thought it was a sequel, you would be reading this review on an entirely different website (BadSequels) and my opinion of it would be very different as well.

I have to admit something here. I like this movie. I mean, it’s one of those guilty pleasure movies for me. That said, if this is intended to be a sequel to AWiL, then I would be forced to rethink that. In comparison, this movie fails in almost every category that the original exceeds at:

  • The writing is sub-par, though I’ve seen much worse in this genre.
  • The acting is also pretty bad, with the exception of Julie Delpy.
  • The balance between horror and comedy is ridiculous. The scenes that are scary are somewhat well done, but the comedy leaves a lot to be desired. The great thing about London was how seamlessly the comedy and horror elements mixed in the script.
  • The effects are horrible. I mean, even for late 90s computer effects, it’s pretty bad. To go from the brilliant makeup work of Rick Baker to whatever you’d call the CGI in this movie, is a travesty. But then again, I’m biased toward practical effects. Especially for werewolves.
  • Simply put, I really really really hope this was not intended to be a sequel.
  • Should You See It:

    As a standalone movie, it’s a pretty good example of the sort of silly and fun horror movies we got in the 90s. It’s no Oscar winner, but it’s a somewhat entertaining way to waste an hour and a half. So, yeah, I’d suggest giving it a chance.

    Just don’t go into it expecting An American Werewolf in London 2: La Electric Boogaloo.

    Although now I want to see that movie happen.

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