Andrea’s film review – An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. Available to stream on StarzPlay for free, or you can find it on most of the major streaming platforms.

What better excuse to re-visit this classic than its 40th anniversary?

I would have loved to have been able to see people’s reactions at the time, watching this unusual mix of horror, gore and comedy. It was certainly a first! And you know what? 40 years later, this film works just as well.

The comedy feels just as funny and fresh (“Mom, a naked man has stolen my balloon!”) and the horror is still damn scary. The whole atmosphere director John Landis creates in the woods at the start the film, or the scene in the Tube station. This film still contains one of the biggest jump-scare I can ever remember in any film (the nightmare within a nightmare).

But the real novelty here was actually to see both genres working at the same time within the same scenes as you keep finding yourself laughing and covering your eyes at the same time: the sequence in the X-rated cinema juxtaposing what’s happening on the screen with what’s happening in the auditorium is a prime example how skilfully handled that mix is. And of course the final mayhem in Piccadilly Circus, so masterfully choreographed and edited, still works beautifully.

The choice of music was also very inspired, from the old classics Blue Moon (and its wacky rendition over the end credits), to Moondance by Van Morrison, another example of a counter-intuitive choice that actually works brilliantly.

And then of course the special effects, which were revolutionary at the time and still very effective 40 years later.

It may have lost some of its edge and yes it does have some flaws (the abrupt ending always bugged me a little bit), but this is still one of my favourite horror movies of all time, with unique moments which have hardly been done better since.

A little trivia for my residents in Chiswick, some of the interiors (David’s room and the office in which Dr Hirsch is questioned by the police) were actually filmed at Chiswick Maternity Hospital in Netheravon Road South, London SW4, which was closed in 1975 (and eventually demolished) and served as location for several other BBC productions.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick

An American Werewolf in London is available to stream on StarzPlay for free, or you can find it on most of the major streaming platforms.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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