Skip to main content

Film Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

An American Werewolf in London is a brutal and brilliant film. Paying tribute to the great monster flicks of yesteryear, director John Landis serves up a terrifying cinematic homage to the creature feature genre, while breaking new ground in the process. The concept of the story is simple, reminding the audience of legends and lore related to a fateful attack by a werewolf. In this case, the victims are two American men backpacking their way across the moors in Yorkshire. Jack (played by Griffin Dunne) is killed and David (played by David Naughton) survives despite his injuries. As the film moves forward, David's insistence that his transformation into a werewolf is imminent is what fuels the movie. We, the audience, are aware that his change is coming and we wait for it with edge-of-your-seat anticipation. And what a change it is. It's worth noting this film received the first-ever Academy Award for Best Makeup and that accolade is well-deserved. The transformation scene in which David's body morphs into that of a werewolf is an iconic moment on film. An American Werewolf in London is also unabashedly sexy. When David meets nurse turned love interest Alex Price (played by Jenny Agutter with a subtle seductiveness rarely seen in films these days), the two bring heat to the film. Landis also infuses the film with a strange but appealing sense of humor. Never do we (the audience) take what we're seeing on the screen as serious as we should because comedic moments remind us of how wild of a tale this is. It as if Landis is making a commentary along the lines of Sometimes life is so intense, you just gotta laugh

David-Matthew Barnes

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Film Review: The Adam Project (2022)

Watching Shawn Levy's sci-fi action comedy The Adam Project is a fun, thrilling experience. The concept of the film is clever: a fighter pilot travels back to a specific point in his life, only to meet (and bond with) his younger self. The always-charming Ryan Reynolds is our leading man, playing the grown-up version of Adam Reed. Reynolds continues to prove he knows a thing or two about being funny. Here, his comedic timing is sharper than ever, evident each time he delivers hilarious lines of dialogue. The pairing of Reynolds with young actor Walker Scobell (who plays a 12-year old version of Adam Reed) creates a fantastic comedic duo. Their dynamic is very enjoyable to watch. They are surrounded by an all-star cast, appearing mostly in supporting roles, including Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner (both should've been given more screen time), and a devilish performance by Catherine Keener as an ultra-villain who you will love to hate. At the heart of the film, this is a good

Film Review: The Young Stranger (1957)

Released a year-and-a-half after Rebel Without a Cause , John Frankenheimer's delinquent youth drama The Young Stranger is filled with echoes from the iconic James Dean film. Here, high school student Hal Ditmar (played with a passionate intensity by James MacArthur) is blamed for something he didn't do: assaulting the manager of a local movie theater. Claiming the act was self defense (which it was), MacArthur spends most of the movie trying to convince the other characters of this truth, namely his father who is a wealthy film producer, played by James Daly. The only one who seems to believe in him (albeit not without a layer of doubt) is his mother, played by acclaimed actress Kim Hunter in a subdued role compared to the more powerhouse performances in her remarkable repertoire of work. This is a simple film in that it features a small cast telling a straight forward story that takes place in only a handful of locations. Certainly a precursor to the ABC Afterschool Specials

Film Review: Caged (1950)

Long before there was Orange is the New Black or Wentworth , there was Caged . This women-in-prison film noir from 1950 is an intense, gritty movie that offers an in-depth look into the complicated lives of its characters. Adapted from the story Women Without Men by Virginia Kellogg and Bernard C. Schoenfeld, the script (written by Kellogg) holds nothing back. While the drama is certainly heightened, the film is remarkable in its seemingly realistic depiction of prison life for women (at least for the time it's set in). Kellogg gives us relatable characters to root for and loathe, portrayed by a talented cast of women including Eleanor Parker in an Academy Award nominated lead role, Betty Garde in a heartbreaking performance as homicidal shoplifter Kitty Stark, and Agnes Moorehead as the sympathetic prison superintendent Ruth Benton. A prison movie wouldn't be true to genre without a villain and Hope Emerson gives us a ruthless one in her sadistic portrayal of the evil prison