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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 33: An American Werewolf In London

An American Werewolf In London
There's a bad moon on the rise

I have to admit, I was a little gun-shy about watching another werewolf movie. Wolves of Wall Street was so bad that I never wanted to see anything involving werewolves for weeks. It's so easy to make a bad werewolf movie, let alone a bad horror movie. I thought that they only way to get back into the genre was to not take any risks and watch a well-known and much-liked werewolf movie. That's where this movie came in.

An American Werewolf In London starts off with two young Americans, David and Jack, backpacking across Northern England, on there way to Italy. When night falls, David and Jack stop in a small pub called “The Slaughtered Lamb”. After a strange encounter in the pub followed be a warning of “Beware the moon,” David and Jack head out into the moors where they begin to hear terrifying baying and growls. Jack is brutally murdered by a werewolf and David suffers wounds before the people from the pub kill the creature. David wakes up in a London hospital where he is cared for by Dr. Hirsch and the beautiful nurse, Alex. David suffers from horrible nightmares and is visited by a mutilated Jack, who informs David that he is in limbo and that to end his torment, Jack must end the werewolf bloodline and kill himself before the full moon. David falls in love with Alex and goes back to her apartment where the the nightmares and visits from Jack continue. Dr. Hirsch travels to The Slaughtered Lamb to question the locals about the attack and learns the truth. Meanwhile, the full moon rises and David goes through a horrific transformation into a werewolf and goes on a killing spree throughout London. How will they stop the transformations and save David from killing again?

Werewolf? There, wolf.

AAWIL has a seriously good mix of scary moments and lighter moments. The scenes of horror and not just scary, but frightening. The transformation scene is the best example. In previous werewolf movies, such as the classic Wolf Man, the transformation into a werewolf was partially scene or done completely in the shadows. In this movie, the scene is brightly lit and is shown in it's entirety. You see muscles grow, hair spread and bones snap while David screams in agony. It is easily one of the best pre-CGI special effects ever used in a horror movie. Scenes in the Underground have great perspective and you really feel the werewolf bearing down on you. The subtle humor and upbeat music is juxtaposed well with the horror, so you never feel like the movie is slipping into actual comedy and losing it's edge.

The acting is solid all around and the story is good all the way through. John Landis knows what he's doing with some creative shots and great direction. Good location choices help to fill out each scene and convey whatever feeling Landis is trying to create. The makeup and effects for Jack and the transformation are the real stars of the movie. It makes me long for the days where paint and supplies were used over computers and programs.The romance does feel a little bit forced and convenient, but for the sake of moving the story forward, it's ok.

Sloppy Joe Day is the best!

Simply put, An American Werewolf In London is a good movie. It sounds silly, but its so hard to find a good movie nowadays. The story if entertaining, the acting and directing are solid, there is plenty of horror, and the effects are amazing. Well worth your time if you're a fan of horror movies or just a fan of movies in general. It's so easy to make a bad werewolf movie, but when you know there is a good one out there, take the time to watch and enjoy. Your brain and your heart will thank you.


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