Director – Anthony Waller, Screenplay – Tim Burns, Tom Stern & Anthony Waller, Producer – Richard Claus, Photography – Egon Werdin, Music – Wilbert Hirsch, Visual Effects – Santa Barbara Studios (Supervisors – John Grower & Bruce Walters), Special Effects Supervisor – Harald Ruediger, Werewolf Design – Peter Lloyd, Animatronic/Prosthetic Effects – Magicon and Crawley Creatures (Supervisors – Joachim Grueninger & Jex Harris), Production Design – Matthias Kammermeier. Production Company – J&M Productions/Cometstone Productions/Avrora Media/Delux Productions/Stonewood Communications.
Tom Everett Scott (Andy McDermott), Julie Delpy (Serafine Pigot), Vince Vieluf (Brad), Phil Buckman (Chris), Pierre Cosso (Claude), Julie Bowen (Amy Vinge)
Andy McDermott and his two friends are making a daredevil tour of Europe. In Paris, they sneak up the Eiffel Tower after closing time where Andy plans to bungee jump off. They are interrupted by the beautiful Serfaine who jumps off the side in an attempt to commit suicide. Andy bungees down to save her but is knocked out in the process. Afterwards, Andy becomes obsessed with Serafine and tries to find her. During his quest, he discovers that Serfaine is a werewolf. Drawn into the Parisian werewolf underground, Andy discovers that he has been bitten by Serafine and will become a werewolf too when the full moon rises. He is haunted by his dead best friend Brad who urges Andy to commit suicide to prevent himself from becoming a werewolf.
An American Werewolf in London (1981) was one of the classic genre films of the 1980s. Directed by John Landis, then a hot name just on the back of The Blues Brothers (1980), it brought the werewolf into the present-day with hero David McNaughton trying to confront something that was a joke from old B-movies as suddenly being real. Along with The Howling (1981), An American Werewolf in London reinvented the werewolf film for the modern era, boosting it with an astonishing array of makeup effects that showed a human transforming into a wolf in prodigious detail, using air-bladder effects to show every hair sprouting, fangs developing, the jaw extending into something prehensile and the like. Rick Baker won an Oscar for creating the effects on American Werewolf.
The original attained a classic status when it came out. A sequel was debated for a number of years. It finally emerged here nearly a decade-and-a-half later, a point when the original’s status had dimmed somewhat. Direction was handed over to Anthony Waller who made a promising debut with the snuff movie thriller Mute Witness (1995), a film that was as directorially astonishing as it was also shamelessly manipulative.
An American Werewolf in Paris was Anthony Waller’s second film. Alas, An American Werewolf in Paris was disliked by just about everybody and Anthony Waller’s career since has not maintained the promise that Mute Witness showed. Waller subsequently went onto make the not-bad thriller The Guilty (1999), which was released direct to video/cable in most territories, and then nothing up until Nine Miles Down (2009), a horror film about a drilling shaft in the Sahara maybe boring down to Hell, and the quasi-documentary sf film The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future (2010).
Far be it from one trying to hold An American Werewolf in London up as genre classic – its position is probably overrated – but it is certainly a better film than this disappointing follow-up. Other than an obligatory credit for being based on characters created by John Landis, there are no characters, cast or production personnel shared between An American Werewolf in London and An American Werewolf in Paris. At most, the two films share the same basic idea of a young American guy in a European city becoming infected with lycanthropy and being urged to commit suicide by the ghost of his dead friend.
Unfortunately, An American Werewolf in Paris reads like a B-movie with a $22 million budget. It has a plethora of ideas – a seemingly neo-Nazi vampire underground, cures offered for lycanthropy, some occasionally amusing digs at French culture, including the idea of French werewolves going out of their way to lure American tourists – but marshals them to surprisingly little effect. Anthony Waller even fails to conjure any of the dazzling directorial flourishes that Mute Witness had.
An American Werewolf in London did not always work but it did have a surreally akilter sense of black humour, while its basic idea of planting the hoary old B-movie idea of the werewolf into a modern setting with a character suddenly forced to come to terms with it being real was well done. An American Werewolf in Paris seems to copy London in basic idea only but loses it completely in terms of adopting any similarity of style. Instead of a character suddenly and comically coming to terms with lycanthropy as real that we had in An American Werewolf in London, Paris only features a character running from one scene to the next.
Anthony Waller tries for replicate London‘s surreal sense of humour but displays amazingly little adeptness for comedy. The film mostly seems to consist of corny variations on someone having conversations with invisible people, including the one that has been done to death by now of someone thought to be talking to their penis while urinating. One would-be comic scene with a condom in a cafe is embarrassingly awful.
In the lead, Tom Everett Scott comes across as far too boyish. Even the lovely Julie Delpy fails to give much of a performance. The effects work is expectedly good, although oddly missing is any transformation scene upon the part of the hero, a feature that was such a memorable aspect of the original. Also the use of CGI effects to render the ghosts intangible makes them far less interesting than they were first time around when they were rotting corpses.
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