An American Werewolf in London (1981)

An American Werewolf in London
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are tramping through the UK, where they end up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. After an awkward visit to the local pub, they decide to not stay there. But while they are walking away, they are attacked. Jack dies and David gets bitten by some kind of monster. Three weeks later he wakes up in an hospital room, wiht Nurse Alex (Jenny Agutter) taking care of him. But the nightmare is only just beginning.

The movie was slightly uneven. It starts as more of a horror-comedy and suddenly there is this shift in tone and everything gets super depressing. But in any case, the most outstanding feature are the fantastic special effects – which still look great, even after 30 years.


I was really impressed by the special effects. Yes, the make-up isn’t always perfect, but hot damn, that werewolf transformation was awesome. There are more modern takes on this thing that don’t work half as well. Generally the werewolf was pretty cool. That is some fantastic puppet work right there.

And the two guys were charming as well – though I do think that they killed off the wrong guy. I would have liked to get more Jack rather than more David. (Also because Griffin Dunne was certainly the better actor.) But I didn’t mind much.


With those two things firmly in place, it didn’t matter much that the script was more meh. It just didn’t make much sense at all, the characters were more cardboard than anything else and the shift from light-hearted comedy (I expected them to start playing basketball any second) to superdark ending was unexpected.

There are some scenes that are really good, but some things are undescribably awkward. Like when Alex takes David home and then proceeds to tell him the number of lovers she’s had after he remarks that there is only one bed. It’s almost as awkward as their making out. (No chemistry. Zilch. Weird angles. It all looked uncomfortable.) So I could have done without that entire love story angle, basically.

Nevertheless the film was enjoyable. Looking forward to the second one.


Summarising: It’s fun, but not great.

1 thought on “An American Werewolf in London (1981)

  1. Pingback: An American Werewolf in Paris (1997) | Stuff

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