An American Werewolf in London

08/17/2015 19:50

Film: An American Werewolf in London

Year: 1981

Director: John Landis

Writer: John Landis

Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Joe Belcher

 

Review:

This film begins with two Americans back-packing across Europe. They have started in Northern Great Britain. They ride in the back of a truck that is full of sheep. There is David Naughton and Griffin Dunne. Naughton is enjoying the trip so far while Dunne is complaining, about the cold and about a woman he wants to have intercourse with. They come up on a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb. It has a wolf’s head on the sign that has been severed and on a spear.

They enter and everyone stops what they are doing to stare. They take a seat and everyone seems to go back to what they were doing. There is a man playing darts, who is played by David Schofield, a man playing chess, who is played by Brian Glover, and the barmaid played by Lila Kaye. The Americans listen to jokes and everything ends when Dunne asks about a star that is on the wall. This kills the room again and they are asked to leave. As they do, they are told to stay on the road and avoid the moors. After they leave, Kaye tells them that it is a full moon and they can’t just let them go. She is shut down and told to leave it alone.

It beings to rain and the Americans move faster. They lose track of what they are doing as they hurry and talk. They end up leaving the road and they hear a wolf howl. They try to double back to find the road, but the beast seems to be in front of them. As they are going, Naughton falls. As he tries to get back up, Dunne is attacked. Naughton flees and tries to go back to help. He gets attacked for his efforts, but the people from the pub save him.

Naughton wakes up almost a month later in a hospital in London. He learns that Dunne is dead, that it was claimed to be a crazed man who attacked him and that it has been dealt with. The nurse taking care of him is Jenny Agutter. The doctor in charge is John Woodvine. Woodvine thinks he is having delusions from being out for as long as he was. Agutter finds him cute. They get along well and get closer during his time there.

It doesn’t take long for Naughton to begin see things. Dunne visits him in the hospital and tells him that he will walk the Earth until Naughton dies. The reason for this is because he is a werewolf now. Naughton thinks he is going crazy. He does get released and with nowhere to go. Agutter allows him to stay with her. They end up making love and fall for each other.

Naughton has some crazy dreams during this time. Some of them are him running through forests naked, one of them involve Nazi werewolves and monsters murdering his family. He tries to hang out at Agutter’s while she is at work Dunne shows up again telling him he will change, but he ignores it. He does end up changing that night into a werewolf. He kills a few different people and ends up in the wolf pen at the zoo. He wakes up naked, not knowing where he is.

Woodvine and Agutter are trying to find him. Woodvine goes to the Slaughtered Lamb to see if what Naughton is saying is true. Agutter cares about him and Naughton needs to figure out what he can do. The full moon will be up again that night. Will he take his life or will be change once again, killing more?

I have to say that this is one of the best werewolf movies out there. This is part comedy, as John Landis is great at those as well. This one I would say is more horror than comedy though. I think the acting in this film is solid, the story is really good and the film is faithful to the rules of the werewolf. The only one that is forgotten is the silver bullets, as this one anything can kill the werewolf. I also think the transformation for the first time is great. The werewolf used is not bad either. This is also a werewolf that walks on all fours like a normal wolf.

Now the only issues I had with this one is that it is the only werewolf film I have seen where the victims of the wolf have come back and haunted the person. Dunne cares about him, but wants him to die so he can move on. The rest are the victims that he adds when he changes. I do like thought that Dunne died long before the rest and he is rotting the longer the film goes on. I also think it is somewhat unrealistic that Agutter would have Naughton come stay with her as quickly as he does. It could happen, especially in Europe, but he is seeing things and she doesn’t know if he is crazy.

I would highly recommend seeing this one if you like werewolf films. If you are also a fan of horror comedies, then I would give this one a viewing. The acting is good, the story is solid and the transformation that is done is great. This film is definitely worth the time and I think it is a solid film to view.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10