Saturday, October 6, 2012

An American Werewolf in London (1981) review


This is one of the best and best-known werewolf movies, and it's a classic in itself with it's great make-up effects and whip-sharp humor.

PLOT:Two American friends, David Kessler (David Naughton) adn Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), go on a backpacking trip to northern England, around the area of London and the moors. They walk for a while (after hitching a ride with a shepherd) until they come upon an old pub named the Slaughtered Lamb, in which they find a five-point star and several warnings to stick to the roads and beware the moon. These two foolish young men disregard their advice and end up getting lost off course, which brings them face-to-face with a werewolf. David survives and is taken to the nearest hospital, but Jack and the werewolf are dead. As David recovers with the help of his nurse, Alex (Jenny Agutter), he is visited by his undead friend and warned that he is the next werewolf and must kill himself before it's too late. For a while, David ignores it and bunks with Alex at her house, but little does he know that he's going to go through a big change. It's a good plot executed pretty well.

ACTING:The performances in here are pretty great. David Naughton as David and Griffin Dunne as Jack play off each other very well and just fill their characters with personality. Each has a similar sense of humor and charisma; however, David plays the change of the werewolf, and he plays it greatly. The other shiners would be Jenny Agutter as Alex, John Woodvine as Dr. Hirsch, Brian Glover as the chess player, David Shofield as the dart player, and Frank Oz as Mr. Collins.

SCORE:The score is pretty well done. It doesn't effect the film drastically, as that of Argento's films, but it's still pretty good. The soundtrack played alongside the humor, as the songs were all based on the moon. ("Blue Moon", "Moondance", "Bad Moon Rising") I liked it.

EFFECTS:These are what made the film so good. The make-up effects in here are brilliant. The effects of the bloody corpses, fresh and rotted, along with the severed body parts and werewolf itself are all brilliantly done. Also, the werewolf change in this film has to be one of the best; it's well-acted by David Naughton and done in detail from nails to teeth to fingers to face. The film is worth watching just for the effects, if not the horror!

OTHER CONTENT:This werewolf film is definitely a horror classic. It's scary and has a sharp, campy sense of humor. The scenes of horrific suspense, just waiting for the wolf to pop up and attack everyone is scary in itself; not to mention the howling in the background makes it all the better. John Landis definitely has a knack for capturing a shot at the right time and angle. Also, he has a pretty campy sense of humor. The humor he incorporates in here is dark, sharp, and dry all to the point of campiness. The film is great fun for horror fans alike. There is one big thing I didn't really like about the film though, and that is the ending. I expected the ending to have a bit more substance instead of being so abrupt. I thought that it should have had an epilogue or at least more dialogue. It just left me wondering what was next.

OVERALL,a great werewolf film with a good plot, great performances, well done score and comedic soundtrack, brilliant make-up effects with one of the best werewolf transformations ever, scary suspense, great direction by Landis, and a campy sense of humor, but the ending just left me wanting more.

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