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An American Werewolf in Paris - 15/31 Days of Halloween 2020

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

I know what you're thinking. "Wait, didn't he review this movie yesterday?" I assure you, today's movie is quite different. Stick with me.

Do sequels ever really live up to their predecessors? I mean, there are a few notable sequels out there, but as a general rule, sequels (particularly horror sequels) tend to suck, and the amount of suckage is proportional to the length of time that passes between movies.

Maybe I'm making up for a distinct lack of werewolf flicks in my viewing pool (I've been waiting for The Howling to appear on streaming sites for the past three years, dammit), but I couldn't pass up today's movie. You see, long before I ever saw An American Werewolf in London, being a teen in the late 90s, I happened to see its sequel first, totally unaware of the original. So does the sequel improve on the original? There's only one way to find out. Break out your phrase books, travelers, because we're heading across the Channel for 1997's An American Werewolf in Paris.

As our story opens, we join a trio of thrill seekers aboard a train traveling from Spain bound for Paris. Upon their arrival in the City of Lights, Andy, Brad, and Chris sneak to the top of the Eiffel Tower after closing. While Brad and Chris enjoy the view, Andy prepares a stunt he believes neither of his friends can top: bungee jumping off the tower. A beautiful woman appears suddenly and climbs the railing, preparing to jump to her death. Andy tries to talk her down, but they both fall. Andy saves the woman's life but injures himself in the process.

Andy awakes in the hospital, determined to find the beautiful woman he saved. After Andy witnesses the mysterious beauty stealing a human heart from the hospital, the American friends use the woman's suicide note to track her to her home. The woman, Sérafine refuses Andy's advances, but he is insistent. After a disastrous first date, the Americans return to Sérafine's home and meet a rough-looking man named Claude. Delighted to discover they are Americans, Claude invites them to a party at the Club de la Lune. While Chris searches for Sérafine, Andy and Brad are trapped inside the club when the hosts transform into werewolves and attack the guests. Sérafine appears and helps Andy escape, but he is bitten. The next day, he wakes to a seemingly never-ending nightmare of monsters, rotting ghosts, and bloody milkshakes.

Okay, right out the gate, I would like to recant my statement in yesterday's review when I called the fully transformed werewolf in An American Werewolf in London hokey. Even four years after Jurassic Park changed special effects forever, CGI was still finding its footing in film, and in this movie, it stumbles and falls flat on its face. The CGI critters have no real weight and look pasted into the scene no matter the lighting. Not only are the werewolves laughably fake looking, but the transformation sequence shows an unforgivable lack of understanding of mammalian anatomy.

The movie tries and fails to be as funny as its predecessor, lacking both London's smart, tongue-in-cheek gallows humor and whimsical soundtrack. Speaking of soundtracks, this movie is probably best remembered for the Bush single Mouth, which I'll admit holds a special place in my heart. Why? Oh. Erm... ask my wife. The undead ghost effects pale in comparison to Rick Baker's Oscar-winning makeup and only manage to make the character Amy more annoying. While much more aggressive than London's tormented spectres, they just don't have the impact their predecessors did.

An American Werewolf in Paris just falls flat on its face at every turn, from the ham-handed attempts at humor to the cheap CGI monsters to the sappy fairytale ending. While An American Werewolf in London is a beloved classic, the sequel is just another lame, soulless cash grab. My advice is to skip this one and pretend it never happened.

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