Rated R - Running time: 1:40 - Released 12/25/97

When I saw An American Werewolf in London (1981), I absolutely loved it. What a new concept — a truly scary horror film, infused with dry, clever comedy. So when I saw that this film was on the way, I was psyched — with modern-day special effects, how could the sequel be anything less than the first? Well, it is.

I could be overreacting. Many horror fans who go to this film will probably like it, even if they saw the first one. But if you liked ...London for its wit, chances are this one will fall flat for you as it did for me.

This story, which apparently bears no relation to its precursor, finds three thrill-seeking American friends, Andy (Tom Everett Scott, That Thing You Do!), Brad (Vince Vieluf), and Chris (Phil Buckman) on their way to Paris to try the ultimate stunt: bungee-jumping off the Eiffel Tower. But while teetering on the railing, they meet a beautiful French girl (Julie Delpy) who is also ready to jump, but with no cord; she wants to kill herself. And upon further investigation, the guys find that her reason for being suicidal is not entirely unjustified: when the moon comes out, she tends to eat people. Not only that, but she's not alone — there is a whole society of froggie werewolves who, unlike her, want to cleanse society by killing all the undesirables (namely, homeless and Americans).

Although some of the effects are somewhat eyebrow-raising, this film is a rather hollow echo of the first. I'm surprised how badly the bluescreen werewolf effects are pasted onto the backgrounds. The animatronic wolves are really not very lifelike, and the transformation scenes (the most interesting part) are rather glossed over. One thing about the first movie that was extremely effective (as it was in Alien) was the fact that you never saw the entire animal. Not so here. From early on, there are wolves running around everywhere. And another place where this film fails to achieve the stature of its predecessor is the humor. While ...London was biting and witty, really funny, ...Paris is just sort of silly. There is an attempt at humor made, with the same wisecracking of the undead, but the writing is just not as clever this time.

The acting is not at all bad, especially on the part of Delpy, and that tends to be the film's saving grace. But if you're a big fan of the original, and not just for the blood and guts, then you may be a little disappointed. ***

Copyright 1997 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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