Film | An American Werewolf in London – Review

An American Werewolf in London
An American Werewolf in London

Plot: Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists – An American Werewolf in London

Director – John Landis

Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher

Genre: Horror/Comedy

Released: November 1981

Perfectly blending comedy with horror, without either element taking away from the other, is a hard trick to master. An American Werewolf in London not only combines these contrasting genres to great effect but became an iconic film in the process, one that is still a pleasure to watch all these years later.

An American Werewolf in London review
An American Werewolf in London

Not going for big-name actors and making some dialogue feel a little cheesy, it’s clear to see that Landis had set about giving his film an almost B-Movie feel to it, just one with higher production value, this, however, doesn’t make the film an ineffective horror movie.

Instead, it achieved quite the opposite, mostly accomplished through a strong plot featuring a collection of memorable dream sequences that provide more character depth than you’d normally expect in an early ’80s creature feature, combined with some imaginative and gory sequences throughout, topped off with Oscar-winning make-up effects that still stand up today. It’s worth watching the film for the transformation scene alone.

Coming in a time of video-nasties, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the film is gory and frankly I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t given that it’s about a werewolf in the middle of London, It’s the comedy elements that take you by surprise, with humour being surprised throughout, yet always feeling natural and not injected into the plot.

An American Werewolf in London
An American Werewolf in London

The film is still held in high regard by almost everyone that’s seen it, with the exception of Roger Ebert who pointed out the films only real downside, the fact that it “seems curiously unfinished as if director John Landis spent all his energy on spectacular set pieces and then didn’t want to bother with things like transitions, character development, or an ending.”

Although I believe the character development and transitions were fine, he does have a point when it comes to the ending. I’m not going to venture into spoilers but let’s just say that it doesn’t offer the closure a film released today would and An American Werewolf in Paris doesn’t do much to make up for this, though that’s mostly down to how bad the sequel is.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you liked – Wolfman, Maniac Cop, The Mummy

IMDB

20 comments

  1. I think I’ve seen the transformation scene from An American Werewolf in London more times than the actual film itself. That fact that it takes place with that oldies song playing the background makes that scene even more frightening. It’s amazing how influential this film was for the comedy-horror genre.

  2. I’m not a huge fan of movies like, but my husband would like this movie! Sending this to him for a quarantine watch.

  3. oh man, what a classic. i haven’t seen this in forever! i’m going to have to watch it again.

  4. I have never seen this movie! It would be fun to check it out while we are in quarantine. I have been looking for things to watch and it would be neat to see this movie since I have heard a lot about it over the years.

  5. Wow it is a classic movie and I’m interested to watch it. Where do you think I could get a copy of this?

  6. The comment section is filled with people saying that it’s a classic movie. I haven’t watched it but I will watch it for sure. Thanks for the review.

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