365 Film Challenge Part 31: Werewolves Special

Film #86: An American Werewolf in Paris

John Landis’ 1981 film An American Werewolf in London is widely regarded as a classic, a darkly comic horror film about an American tourist having a mixed time on his trip to the UK (sleeping with Jenny Agutter probably doesn’t quite make up for getting savaged by a werewolf), and is an absolute gem of a flick. This sequel, coming sixteen years later has largely been forgotten. But is it any good?

Three Americans arrive in the French capital on a “daredevil tour” of Europe, and during a bungee jump from the Eiffel Tower, Andy (Tom Everett Scott) rescues an attempted suicide jumper Serafine (Julie Delpy). He ends up in hospital but determined to find her, which he does, learning that she’s a werewolf after he himself is bitten.

The movie uses some of the cool ideas of the original flick (the werewolves being haunted by the decaying spirits of their victims) but with hardly any of the charm. The plot about French lycanthropes picking off tourists is fine, but there’s a bunch of stuff about finding a cure, and something that allows them to turn werewolf anytime they want, which just muddies the waters. The central romance feels rushed and underwritten, and it goes for lazy gags a few too many times. It’s fine, and fun enough in parts, but nowhere near the original, and despite being over a decade more recent, the effects here have aged worse than the ’80s work. 6/10.

Film #90: High Moon

I’m not gonna lie, it was the title of this that got me on board so I’m disappointed to learn it’s also known as Howlers which is considerably less fun and imaginative. The premise is enjoyably daft too, a werewolf slaying gunslinger comes back to life in the present day to face off against the outlaw wolfman he put down back in the day.

The problem with this film is that it’s shot in a rather pedestrian way, almost like an episode of Neighbours, which is a shame, as filmed with a bit more of a sense of fun the idea would be a winner. The acting and dialogue is creaky, and the effects look like they picked them up at a costume shop. A missed opportunity and nowhere near as fun as it should be. 4/10.

Film #123: Howl

A British werewolf flick this time as the passengers of an overnight train from London is derailed and the passengers find themselves stranded in the woods and pursued by a werewolf.

The film starts slow, but pretty well establishing our hero, Joe (Ed Speleers), a fed up train guard who is forced to do an extra journey and finds himself stuck in the woods. It also does a good job of quickly setting up all of the passengers who are to become our unlucky group. It’s got that old disaster movie vibe and does a pretty good job of giving us the group and showing the different reactions to the events.

The effects are pretty good, and the werewolves have a cool look which sees them all have distinct features from each other, which makes sense. The director had previously done work on effects for Dog Soldiers, a movie I absolutely love, and this is a very solid and entertaining horror flick. The performances are decent and there’s a genuine sense of tension as our travellers are caught in a train carriage and beset by beasties. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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