There’s been a slight alteration of the werewolf path. Stand by as we bring you this review.
This review is part of The Werewolf Run to help promote the release of my own werewolf novel, A Werewolf in Time (Mrs. McGillicuddy #2). Please visit Amazon and Barnes & Noble online for information on ordering a copy of the book for your Kindle or Nook. To see where I’ll be in the next month, visit: http://www.khkoehler.com/the-werewolf-run/
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS (1997)
There are times when I wonder if a director who’s making a film is actually looking at it. This is one of those times.
An American Werewolf in Paris has much the same setup as its predecessor, An American Werewolf in London. It involves three young people, Andy, Brad and Chris, who are touring Paris and who wind up ass-deep in trouble of the hairiest kind, though the movie seems to shift crazily between the three boys “adventure touring” versus “sex touring,” which rather foreshadows the movie’s erratic multiple personality disorder. Not a good sign. While bungee jumping off the Eifel Tower, Andy saves Serafine from a suicide attempt. What Andy isn’t aware of is that Serafine is the daughter of David Kessler and Alex Price, the lovers from the original movie, An American Werewolf in London. At least, that’s what internet sources would have me believe, though I was never really sure if this was canon in the movie. Nothing like it is ever discussed. In fact, I wasn’t sure about much of anything in this movie.
Not long after, the three young men are invited to an underground party, put on by the human-hating Claude, the head of a secret society of werewolves who regularly lure humans to their parties in order to devour them. During the festivities, Andy gets bitten, Chris gets lost, and Brad gets dead. Serafine intervenes to save Andy’s life, and Andy wakes the next morning forever changed. Claude, however, plans to come around and finish the task he started—eliminating Andy.
What Andy isn’t aware of, but will be soon, is that he has now joined the ranks of the furry, and there’s a full moon tonight. Meanwhile, Brad has returned, much like Jack from the first film, in an attempt to persuade Andy to kill the werewolf who killed him so he can escape his present undead state and move on to the next world. Serafine, meanwhile, is being haunted by her own undead mother—Alex from the first movie, who, in my opinion, got the shortest straw of all in life. Not only did she get involved with David, who was killed in An American Werewolf in London, but she bore his illegitimate wolf-baby, a child who winds up killing her despite her and her second husband’s attempts to reverse her condition. Did I mention Serafine’s step-father is also a paraplegic lycanthrope? And what about that clueless police inspector with the investigative skills of Jacques Clouseau? It’s almost like there was another movie playing somewhere and the characters just wandered randomly onto the set of An American Werewolf in Paris for some cameo shots.
An American Werewolf in Paris is a mess of a movie any way you slice it. In some ways, it feels like a movie half-finished, in another, a movie that should probably have never seen the light of day at all—sad, considering the movie was in development for six years. The Paris visuals are stunning both by daylight and moonlight, but past that, the film offers the audience nothing by way of entertainment value or even much logic. The relationship between Serafine and Claude is ambiguous at best—I can only assume Serafine changed Claude, except that a key part of the climax is Andy destroying Claude, which apparently “frees” Serafine from the curse, an act that makes no sense within the context of the story’s canon and rules. There are also weird sub-plots about Serafine’s scientist stepfather (and part time paraplegic lycanthrope) searching for a cure for lycanthropy, and Claude’s own anti-social hang-ups. Claude apparently loves Americans (or so he says) but has real issues with social welfare. His idea of reform is to devour all those people who are burdening the social system, though this would have a more negative impact on his clan of werewolves than anything else. After all, if all the “undesirables” were gone, Claude and his bunch of deviant furries would have nothing to hunt or eat. Chris, it turns out, has no role except as a male damsel in distress, beaten, hog-tied and threatened by Claude in disturbing, homoerotic ways.
The movie has other problems. There are the awful inside gags, Andy’s murky motivations, and the werewolf visuals themselves. Andy, as a werewolf, manages to kill two people and one cute dog (truly, the movie has no shame) yet he’s practically unaffected by his acts of violence, despite him being a so-called “nice guy”. One of the undead return to haunt-and-taunt him, again like Jack, and make silly commentary about her decaying body and popping eyeballs, while the other undead (including the cute dog) are curiously absent. Somehow, I feel cheated by the missing undead dog. In fact, I’d rather follow his drama than the frantic, mindless series of impossibly stupid incidents that befall our protagonists. The CGI-generated werewolves themselves are so badly rendered, they make pieces of art out of made-for-Syfy computer animation.
The entire movie is a sucking miasma of werewolf vomit that I strongly recommend viewers run, not walk, away from. Please, do it for the undead puppies.
1/2 pentacles out of 5.
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