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Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2009

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"An American Werewolf in London" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

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Synopsis

A couple of American backpackers, David and Jack, begin their vacation in northern England. After walking for hours in the cold rain, they come upon an old pub, the Slaughtered Lamb, and seek comfort inside. They are not greeted with open arms, instead the local town folk give them the cold shoulder. David and Jack don't know better and just end up irritating the people further until they are asked to leave. They are warned to stay on the road and to be careful. It is not long until they hear the howls of a strange creature and the two are attacked by a werewolf. Jack dies while David is injured right before the werewolf is shot and killed by several townsmen. David wakes up 3 weeks later in a London hospital. He is tended to by Nurse Price and they develop feelings for each other. David starts having nightmares in which his dead friend Jack visits him. Jack tells him he must kill himself before the next full moon. David is confused and doesn't understand what is happening to him. Eventually he is released from the hospital and ends up staying with Nurse Price. A full moon arrives and David turns into a werewolf, going on a killing spree. He wakes up in a zoo with absolutely no recollection of what just happened. The next time he turns into a werewolf David is in a busy downtown area. The police corner him and end things for good.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 1981, Color, R, 97 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: VC-1
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine
  • Directed by John Landis
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Gory Horror Violence
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Some

Commentary

This was my first time watching An American Werewolf in London. I think the movie would have been more enjoyable had I seen it in the '80s. Unfortunately, I found it to be a bit cheesey. However, fans will absolutely love this fresh new blu-ray.

Technical

From what I have read of the previous releases of this film, the transfer has never been given much time and effort, till now. Colors are natural and contrast is good. Don't expect this movie to look like today's releases, it does show the film's age. Plenty of film grain is present, but that's not always a bad thing. The image was a bit soft at time, but overall pretty good. The DTS HD Master audio track was decent. Nothing particularly impressive.

Extras

Documentary "Beware the Moon" - an in-depth, full length documentary about the movie.
Audio Commentary with actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne. Also included are some interviews, outtakes, and the original theatrical trailer.