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An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)

Directed by Anthony Waller   Written By Tim Burns, Tom Stern & Anthony Waller

   As some may or may not know, this movie was intended to be the sequel of An American Werewolf in London. Which is more than likely what created the majority of flack for this film. While John Landis had originally wrote a version of the screenplay and considered to direct, they obviously choose not to use such versions. But something that was overlooked or not taken into consideration must have been that it fell under so many genres. They marked it Horror, Thriller, Romance and Comedy. An American Werewolf in London was only marked as a Fantasy Horror. The reason for me pointing this out being that when the original was released, everyone was under the assumption it was going to be a comedy. But horrified at what they saw presented instead. Which perhaps spawned people who were hoping for yet another Horror when that was simply wasn’t the case. It’s clearly a comedy with a couple “scary” parts thrown in. Flipped around from its predecessor. No different then how Fright Night or the 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors were marketed (not to compare to the actual films against each other).

  The story begins one dark and stormy night in Paris with the orchestra providing the soundtrack as someone emerges from the underground sewers. Running for the only thing in front of him after exiting; a nearby taxi. Tripped from down below it seems a doctor is left screaming for his life as he’s dragged down with the sounds from the concert getting louder as the assault worsened. We are then taken aboard a train where we see three American’s on their “Daredevil Tour” and way to Paris from Spain. As they tally up points from their escapade they make a slight comment about whether sex points should count or not. As Brad (Vince Vieluf) and Chris (Phil Buckman) make fun of Andy’s (Tom Everett Scott) lack thereof sexual activity, explaining that none of it would matter once they got to Paris. Speaking on the promise of doing a stunt that would outdo them both.

  At the Eiffel tower we catch up with the three, making it look entirely too easy to sneak into a landmark. While Chris and Brad begin to celebrate with wine and enjoy the view, Andy gets straight to business. He checks the wind while setting up what appears to be rope attached, with the intent of bungee jumping off. But when they begin hearing footsteps approaching the top they hide behind whatever they can find. It was apparently a good night to sneak to the top of the Eiffel tower. We see a young woman approach the edge as she slips a piece of paper into her pocket and prepares for her jump. After a failed attempt to be coaxed down, she leaps with Andy close behind. Barely touching the ground, she dashes off as her note fly’s in the opposite direction. Completely smashing his head on the tower while bouncing back up and awakening in the hospital, his friends hovering over him. Making fun of the fact that he really “fell” for the girl. Distraught at the thought of her still in trouble he has his two friends search the streets of Paris for her suicide note. Because that was actually happen. 

   Making their way to her house they are given a not so welcoming hello as she urges them to leave. Giving the explanation that the blood seen on her hands was from painting the basement (stupid Americans). Serafine (Julie Delpy) comply’s in meeting with Andy the next day at a cafe where he receives terrible advice from Chris. Taking minimal effort in making him appear as some “cool” guy to assist with getting her attention. But during coffee an incident occurs which shows Serafine having a bit more upper strength than having mentioned. Playing damsel in distress and running off after confronting a man three times her size once putting his hands on Andy. The three friends decide to return to her house as they insist on it simply being playing hard to get. However they are greeted by Claude, (Pierre Cosso) who explains that while she wasn’t home, they could find her at a party he was later throwing that she was sure to be at.

  “Club de la Lune” is where they end up for the night with no sight of Serafine in sight. (no, I did not intend for that to rhyme) So Chris is kind enough to suggest Brad and Andy staying, in case she did stop by and making sure she wasn’t back at her house. Where he does find her in a jail cell in the basement as she inquires where his friends were. Overcome by panic as she hurries to put Chris in her place after knocking him out. She rushes back to the club and takes Andy inside the tunnels claiming he was hers; Claude and Brad following close as the real party was about to start. Beginning their transformation, Serafine insist that he go ahead and leave her behind, sure he was being pulled aside to get lucky. Poor Brad soon meets his demise while Andy manages to get away but not before bitten on the leg. The prior night Chris cleverly found his way out of the basement. Meeting with the brief noises coming from a hospital curtain to find a werewolf with no legs clawing in his immediate direction.

  No, his dreams were in way comparable to the greatness that Baker and Landis came up with. And it was rather odd that Serafine insisted on Andy rubbing her breasts in order to calm down. Though some men may not find that to be the case. The entire thing was a means to put a “story” into something that barely bothered with it to begin with. Ready? For those who have seen the London version and recall Nurse Alex Price: Serafine is her daughter and she’s followed much like Jack does in the original. She also attacked her step-father who we saw in the beginning and was the werewolf Chris was ran from. Her step-father had been working on a serum to stop the transformations but what ended up happening was a reverse effect. Creating a substance in which would help the Lycan’s transform at any time og the month. **While I am aware that there is a difference between Werewolf and Lycan; they are referred as to as both**

  Once Andy leaves her house and finds his way back to the club, he sees displayed body parts everywhere as Police attempt to label and bag as many as possible. Questioned by the force later, believed to be on drugs, it seems Andy begins taking in his newly found, overpowering senses. This was always where it actual began to get good for me. Indulging in some dinner with a fellow American woman he sniffs out, Andy begins seeing Brad as he warns of ditching the girl and getting himself locked up. Refusing to listen and having decided to take his date to Jim Morrison’s grave they begin stripping down. Feeling himself burning up and running for the nearest fountain and Andy finding himself a changed man. One that begins to “have at” those near by including a detective the police had follow him. He visits the morgue the next morning where his latest victim rises with the promise of making the rest of his life as much of a hell that he did for her. Sneaking out of the hospital though taken by Claude and his “gang” of werewolf’s as they go to a church and offer him to join or die. Escaping to find himself yet again chased by the gang, this time while leaving Serafine’s house. And only to endure in another major chase scene where he finds himself back at her house. Just in time to watch her try and save her step-father who had flat-lined on account on Claude. Devising a plan involving sneaking into their fourth of July party at the church while moving things a bit faster than planned when obtaining the formula needed to transform. The rest of his crew, adorned in robes for dramatic effect, inject the serum with chaos as an immediate result. Leading down once again to the underground tunnels of Paris with the final showdown occurring on a subway, feeling all too a bit rushed and relativity weak.

Final Thoughts: So why do I like this movie you may ask? There are a couple of reasons; the first being that I easily told not associate it in any way to An American Werewolf in London. Second being that I certainly didn’t consider it a straight Horror film, more like one of those teen thrillers. I even found the fact that a group of 3 men would get together and decide to embark on a rather cute “DareDevil” Tour to begin with. Always been a fan of Tom Everett Scott and have found Vince Vieluf to be quite humorous on three different accounts; this one included. I did like where they had attempted to go with the story-line as well. I’ve seen so many interpretative tales for vampires that it saddens me of not always the case with werewolves. What’s the one thing they would constantly try to beat; the moon, naturally. So I did enjoy the idea of making a serum to transform at any moment. Would like to see that done in a more thought about approach..is there something like that already out there? Make me aware!

  There were also several small parts consistently throughout that I got a chuckle out of. The wolf’s were CGI’d which  never compares against the ingenuity of creative minds used in the past. Although it was a bit nice to get to see the entirety of the wolf and not have a person attached to it in some aspect. There was a part near the end when in the tunnels the two Police officers are trying to make their flashlights work and as they’re hitting them, the light fades in and out. But in the background you can see a wolf approaching and getting closer the more they mess with the lights. The final showdown between Claude and Andy was short and as unimpressive as one might expect. Andy does becomes aware that it was Claude who had bitten him by the mark on his chest, recalling the one given to the wolf. Fighting over the serum the two fall down as Andy is immediately injected into his heart. After turning and eating his heart he’s able to return back to normal as is Serafine, Claude having turned her a while back. The end turns into some cheesy romantic comedy but makes sense in terms of where the movie would end. Sure, it’s the not the best of films and it’s downright silly to a majority of people. But there are certainly worse out there and have found enjoyment out of other (just as) silly movies. The can’t disappoint if I don’t start out with an unrealistic expectation to begin with. Sometimes a silly movie about werewolf’s is just that.