Volume 91, Issue 56

Thursday, January 8, 1998

El nino


AhhWOOO, werewolf in Paris

By Vivien Cheng
Gazette Staff

Remember Michael J. Fox in the '80s film Teen Wolf? Just change the setting to Paris and make the main character a little less intelligent and voilą! instant American Werewolf in Paris, the sequel to American Werewolf in London.

The London movie was the winner of an Academy Award in 1982 for Best Make-up. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as if the sequel will be collecting any awards in the near future. Excellence certainly wasn't what the creators of this film had in mind when they went into production. American Werewolf in Paris has a certain slapstick stupidity and B-movie horror-film quality that aims low – and succeeds.

Andy McDermott (Tom Everett Scott) is an American teenager travelling in Paris for the summer. Accompanying him are his two plaid-clad buddies of surfer orientation whose vocabulary consists of the single word "dude." In an attempt to enrich his life and impress his friends, Andy prepares to bungee jump off the Eiffel Tower but is distracted. He immediately falls in love with Serafine (Julie Delpy), a French girl also preparing to jump off the tower, but in attempted suicide. In true cinematic hero style, Andy saves Serafine, triggering his subsequent tangle with werewolves.

Although the beginning of the movie is a little silly, the remainder is even more so, creating the opportunity for cheap thrills and the occasional laugh. Andy and his friends search for Serafine and unknowingly involve themselves in an underground werewolf colony. Consequently, Andy is chased by a werewolf, bitten by that werewolf and then becomes a werewolf. What could be more fun? And that's only the first 20 minutes. Other complications arise and a great trail of blood and gore is left behind.

The horrible acting in this movie can be attributed to the quality of the script. Lines of low-brow humour promote equal acting. The entire cast could probably have given a better attempt at their performances – but they're werewolves. They're allowed to suck. And the characters who aren't werewolves either get scared and disappear, or are eaten. Despite all this, Andy deals with his situation particularly well, luring his meals with apparent ease and succumbing to violence at every opportunity. He welcomes sadness, anger, lust and French in one fell swoop.

At its centre, American Werewolf in Paris is simply about the episodic downfalls of being a werewolf in modern society. Any intelligence or wit in this film would definitely seem out of place. So, don't expect anything more than the title suggests and you'll be a happy movie-goer.

Graphic by Collin Dunne

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