Courtesy Photo
Opened: Thursday, December 25, 1997
Rated: R

Directed by Anthony Waller

Starring Tom Everett Scott, Julie Delpy, Vince Vieluf, Phil Buckman, Julie Bowen, Pierre Cosso, Tom Novembre & Thierry Lhermite

"An American Werewolf in Paris"

Any chance "An American Werewolf in Paris" had to stand up against it's cult classic predecessor is abandon 10 minutes into the movie when it is revealed that one of the werewolves is a nurse.

At that moment it becomes plainly obvious that she will, of course, be working on a cure and that a sitcom-quality happy ending is inevitable.

An in-name-only sequel cashing in on John Landis' darkly funny 1981 flick "An American Werewolf in London," this movie is something of a scary-comic mutation. A happy-go-lucky horror flick, it bears the scars of multiple re-writes, not the least of which are flat dialogue and ridiculously politically correct themes.

Get a load of this plot: Paris is being terrorized by a clan of punker, neo-Nazi werewolves bent on breeding a master race.

They hold raves in abandon churches (why are werewolves and vampires drawn to abandon churches?) where they eat the weak and recruit the strong to be goose-stepping hounds of hell.

Without the London coattails to ride, a story like this would be lucky to get made at all.

Meanwhile an American named Andy (Tom Everett Scott from "That Thing You Do!") and a couple of his pals backpacking through Europe rescue the Serafine (Julie Delpy), the werewolf nurse, from a suicide attempt when she jumps off the Eiffel Tower and Andy bungie jumps after her (don't ask).

She disappears from the scene and love struck Andy goes looking for her at one of the aforementioned raves, where he is bitten, becoming a werewolf himself.

What follows is a series of music video-style chase sequences and computer-generated transformation scenes that leave a lot to be desired. These alternate with a 50-cent story thread about Serafine and Andy trying to cure their werewolfism and stop the punks.

When it's not leaning heavily on the original for ideas (the corpse of Andy's best friend, killed by a werewolf, follows him around giving ironic advice), this "Werewolf" is predicated on the weakest kind of coincidental plot advancement.

Horror and action flicks are often full of holes. The ones that work in spite of their shortcomings do so because they are entertaining enough to make the audience forgive their fallacies.

In "Werewolf," we've got nothing but time on our hands to ponder questions like why if the punks are looking for physically prime recruits, they don't bite Tom's super-buff friend Chris (Phil Buckman). Or why Serafine is the only female werewolf. What is she, Smurfette of the damned?

Tom Everett Scott is adequately All-American, as he was in "That Thing," but he and Delpy ("Before Sunrise") occupy very generic roles add little personality to them. After the obligatory "you gotta believe me" scenes and a few more chases through graveyards and catacombs (complete with wide-angle, wolf's-eye-view camera shots), you start to wish they would die just to spice things up.

Had co-writer/director Anthony Waller stuck closer to the eerie dark humor of "An American Werewolf in London" (in which the main character did die) this sequel might have made it. But attempts to broaden the story with over-the-counter plot devices, like nefarious racists, serve to make the movie wholly predictable and give it a bland, assembly line flavor.

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