Splatter Time Fun Fest 2010 travels back to England, and once again they are having issues of a supernatural kind, what a place!
Written By: John Landis
Directed By: John Landis
If only An American Werewolf In London had been an hour and a half of David and Jack shooting the shit, with the occasional interlude from the scrumptious Nurse Price of course! That is the movie I wanted to watch, sadly it isn’t the movie John Landis delivered. As a matter of fact, I’m still not quite sure what movie Landis did deliver. An American Werewolf In London is all over the map, both in terms of quality and in terms of its presentation. It was a hard film to peg down, a hard film to really get into, and ultimately a film I am willing to say was good, but unsatisfying.
I don’t think An American Werewolf In London is attempting to say anything. There is an odd shout out to Princess Di and Prince Charles in the closing credits. I have also read some theories that An American Werewolf In London is some sort of message about the reality of London as compared to the fantasy of the way London looked through the coverage of their nuptials. Yeah, sorry folks, I just don’t see it. Landis isn’t trying for much with An American Werewolf In London, and I’m not sure if he succeeds at what he is trying for. This isn’t a horror film that is making a statement about the world or society, An American Werewolf In London is a horror film that sometimes wants to be a comedy and occasionally succeeds.
I was frustrated at the uneven nature of An American Werewolf In London, and the root of that unevenness can be found in the films desire to be both a comedy and a horror film. It is funny, at times, but it’s more often than not drab and static. It’s never scary, or suspenseful in my case, not for a second. The comedy isn’t sustained either, I had the distinct feeling of watching a sketch comedy show while An American Werewolf In London was playing across my TV screen. It’s a very episodic film, and Landis seems to have eschewed any semblance of structure, opting instead for throwing comedic moments in at the most awkward moments and hoping for some laughs. It doesn’t often work, in fact it only works when Jack and David are interacting with one another.
What does work in An American Werewolf In London is the prosthetic and make-up work provided by Rick Baker. Whether it is the transformation of David, the deteriorating state of Jack or the bloody gore that is sprinkled throughout the film, Baker always brings the goods. Werewolves are hard to pull off, even harder when CGI is not involved, but Baker makes this werewolf believable. While I don’t believe that An American Werewolf In London’s reputation as a classic is deserved, Baker deserves all the praise in the world for his work on the film.
I know I’ve said a lot of negative things about An American Werewolf In London throughout this review. But, I still somewhat enjoyedAn American Werewolf In London. Not as a horror film though, because unless you’re squeamish to blood there isn’t anything horrific about An American Werewolf In London. Pick out the good bits between Jack and David, gawk at the hotness of Jenny Agutter and marvel at the prosthetic work of Rick Baker. The rest of the film left me cold, and uninterested, but the strength of those three facets is enough for me to give An American Werewolf In London a slight, very slight, recommendation.