An American Werewolf in London (Blu-ray)
John Landis, who had already gained critical acclaim with Animal House and The Blues Brothers, hit another home run with this horror film. I'm generally not a big fan of the genre, but Landis includes a good measure of comedy to keep things interesting.
I can't say I am particularly impressed with the 1080p/VC-1 encode. Some scenes look pretty rough, like the opening sequence when the credits roll, but once the boys enter the Slaughtered Lamb pub, it gets much better. The first act is very grainy, which doesn't match the rest of the film, but colors are well saturated, especially red. Given the age of the film, I didn't expect much of an upgrade over the previously released HD DVD, and I got what I expected.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack isn't anything to write home about, but there are some surprising moments when it shines. The opening attack of the werewolf exhibits surprisingly realistic imaging as the howl of the beast encompasses the room with sound emanating from all speakers. The LFE channel has some decent presence, especially with the growls and grunts of the werewolf, and the dialog is mostly intelligible with only a couple of sequences in which the actors mumble their lines.
A decent assortment of bonus materials includes a feature commentary, a making-of featurette, an interview with Landis, and an interview with makeup artist Rick Baker. Other SD supplements include are some snippets on the casting, outtakes, storyboards, and photo-montageall of which were on the previously released HD DVD. New featurettes include a feature-length making-of documentary (SD) and the only HD supplement, "I Walked with a Werewolf," which is a newer interview with Baker and how his work on this film led to a long career in Hollywood.
Although I'm not a fan of the horror genre, I can see why people like this film. It's funny, it has decent special effects (which were state of the art at the time), and it holds up well despite its age. The presentation isn't anything to sink your teeth into, but it's a decent upgrade over DVD.
Release Date: September 15, 2009
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