While “An American Werewolf in Paris” started off strong in theaters,
placing third among the new releases it was competing with, a series of
mixed and outright bad reviews slowed it to a crawl and ultimately
brought in barely more money that it took to make.
This movie chose a slightly comedic approach to the werewolf genre but
still threw in a decidedly darker edge than its predecessor from 1981,
“An American Werewolf in London.” Taken as a stand-alone movie and not a
direct sequel to the first, this movie is a fun mix of gore, dark
gallows humor, and a little bit of a love story thrown in to make a a
well-rounded story that stays fresh and entertaining till the end.
The story is essentially about three American guys on a daredevil tour
of Europe to try and top each other’s stunts. Their next stop is Paris,
France, where they plan to base-jump off the Eiffel Tower with bungee
cords. As the trespassing Americans prepare for their stunt, well fueled
with alcoholic courage, they hear footsteps coming up the Tower.
Thinking it could be a guard, one of the boys peeks around the corner to
see a beautiful woman climbing onto the edge of the observation deck. As
she hurls herself from the Tower, Andy leaps to her rescue, catching her
and releasing her gently to the ground before being pulled back up the
tower. Intrigued by the event and the girl, he begins what will become a
very dark journey into the underbelly of Parisian nightlife, ultimately
losing his mortality along the way.
Director Anthony Waller doesn’t seem to know exactly what he wants from
the film and that indecision often shows through with elements that
don’t mesh. A good example is the use of alternative grunge music in the
soundtrack that is totally inappropriate to the scenes and the infrared
‘wolf vision” that becomes tedious with overuse.
While the film was panned for its reliance on CGI for the werewolf
effects as opposed to the Rick Baker make-up effects of the first movie,
it is still a quite watchable movie. “An American Werewolf in Paris” is
a blood-splashed fun monster romp with plenty of darkly funny dialogue
and enough blood spray to suit any fans of old-school werewolf horror
flicks. With some of the location photography taking place in the city,
there is a lot of old-world charm creeping around in the backgrounds.
The movie does rely on a bit of camp to make the various elements blend
together but that means this is a horror/comedy monster movie that will
send laughs, chills, and a few groans through its audiences.