Daily Archives: April 23, 2017

An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)

*. Maybe this was just ahead of its time. Yes, An American Werewolf in London was a horror/rom-com too, but the story here seems bending toward the twenty-first century and YA romantic horror. Think Twilight and Underworld. An American Werewolf in Paris might have just been jumping the gun.
*. It was also jumping the gun with its use of CGI for the werewolf effects. But you don’t always want to be an early adopter of technology. By today’s standards, the CGI looks really bad.
*. Or maybe it was behind the times. I had to keep reminding myself while watching it that it came out in 1997. It seems so 1980s, right from the opening scene on the train introducing the three buddies. Surely one of them must be Ferris Bueller, right? And the soundtrack . . . were we listening to music like that in the ’90s? I wasn’t listening to much music in the ’90s so I don’t know.
*. This is a good example, perhaps the perfect example, of a sequel that has suffered badly because of comparisons to the original. In fact it has almost nothing to do with the original, and was so belated (a reported six years in development hell) that comparisons are almost useless. The actual link between Serafine and Alex Price is, for legal reasons, only implied. There are a couple of nods to An American Werewolf in London — the double-fake dream, the ghosts of the victims following the hero around — but it’s really a stand-alone effort and I think needs to be approached as such.
*. It has enough of its own problems. Aside from Julie Delpy the cast is forgettable. Tom Everett Scott seems too goofy for his part. The direction, by Anthony Waller, is just workmanlike. The plot is full of wild improbabilities, beginning with the dive from the Eiffel Tower. The werewolf effects, as already noted, are terrible. But I think the biggest problem is that there’s just too much going on. All the business with Serafine’s back story, the clan of werewolves led by Claude, the two ghost victims, the buff bro Chris (Phil Buckman) hanging around in a dungeon (couldn’t they have at least given him a shirt to put on?), a police investigation, the old ambivalence in Franco-American relations, the attempt to find a cure for lycanthropy . . . all of this and a boy-meets-girl werewolf story too. It’s hard to keep focused on what’s important.
*. This is a shame, as there some things to like here. I know most people didn’t find it funny, but I thought it had its moments. The condom-bubblegum bit. Andy’s animal instincts being activated by the hottie in the zebra-print skirt. The cop, upon being asked by Andy what he’s being arrested for, replying dryly that “the possibilities are limitless.”
*. But instead of staying light on its feet with witty banter and letting the two leads work together (admittedly, without any trace of chemistry between them), the film gets bogged down in a lot of extraneous matters and predictable action sequences.
*. An American Werewolf in London got a lot of flack when it came out for not knowing what it was about. I don’t think that was a fair criticism of that movie, but it really fits here. The comedy and the romance and the horror remain completely distinct elements. At some point someone had to decide which way they wanted to go with this. They didn’t, and ended up going nowhere. It’s not as painful as some critics have made it out to be, but it sure isn’t very good.