Movie Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. For today’s Month of Spooks post we’re going with a classic about werewolves. And it’s also a first time watch for me, so it’s pretty exciting. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “An American Werewolf in London”.

After getting attacked by a werewolf while trekking through the English countryside, American college student David (David Naughton) gets sent to the hospital. And we follow him as he tries to cope with the possibility that he might turn into a werewolf himself. So now we have our story. And I think it’s really good, and I think a lot of it comes down to the tone here. While it has its basis in horror, it never takes itself too seriously. That isn’t to say that there isn’t any drama here, because there is, and I think it is fairly effective in getting the audience invested. But it is often more of a dramedy rather than a straight-up horror movie, which I think works very well, and even makes the horror parts of the plot even more effective as it’s such a change in tone and style. Good stuff.

The characters in this are interesting and entertaining. First up we have David Naughton as David, the college student who might be turning into a werewolf. Seeing his development as he copes with the thought of turning as well as everything else surrounding the entire situation is quite interesting, and it makes him a pretty compelling character. And Naughton is great in the role. Next we have Jenny Agutter as Alex, the nurse who treats David at the hospital, while also being a bit of a live interest. She’s charming, clever, and just an overall fun foil for David. And Agutter is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Frank Oz, Don McKillop, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Elmer Bernstein, and it was good. Typical mood-building horror stuff, worked well enough for the various scenes it was used in. Then there were also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and they really added a lot to the movie, giving a bit of extra charm to it, somehow adding to the entire experience. So yeah, this movie had some good music.

This movie was written and directed by John Landis, and I think he did a great job with it. He builds a thick atmosphere here, thick enough that you can shoot it with a silver bullet, and it just adds a lot to the movie. There’s a dread that lingers in the background, and it gives a lot of layers to it all. But it’s not just doom and gloom, as there’s a fair bit of humor throughout the movie. And I found it all to be quite funny. And let’s not delay it any further. Rick Baker’s makeup and effects… they are absolutely fantastic and still really hold up to this day. Especially THAT scene. The people who have seen it know which scene I’m talking about. Mind-blowing stuff, yo.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best makeup.

“An American Werewolf in London” deftly blends horror, comedy, and drama to create an interesting and compelling package. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/makeup and effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “An American Werewolf in London” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “An American Werewolf in London” is now completed.

There’s a bad moon on the rise. Awooo.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

  1. I agree about that scene, and the ground-breaking special effects. It should be highly regarded as a ‘classic’ in the genre, and is by many.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Pingback: The Month of Spooks 2018 Roundup | TheMarckoguy

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