Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Reviewed by Arno Mikli
Rating: 7 Beans
e really should treat this film with some respect. After all, there is a popular TV series based on it.
However, this reviewer has found it hard to do so. It looks very much as though the filmmakers started to make a serious horror movie, and then changed their minds at some point in mid-production and tried to change it into a comedy spoof. The result is lamentable.
It starts fine , and indeed the first half-hour or so is watchable enough. We see a sinister-looking character called Merrick (Donald Sutherland) approach a teenaged schoolgirl called Buffy (Kristy Swanson) and persuade her that she is a vampire-slayer. This part of the script, which certainly had the potential to be very silly, is made surprisingly acceptable in the way we see Buffy react, the way she gets trained for the job, and the way in which we see her relationships and ties with her three airhead friends and boyfriend dwindle from strong to feeble to non-existant.
It's when the vampires appear in the film that the film falls apart. Rutger Hauer and Paul Reubens are both awful as the two main vampires Lothos and Amilyn (the blame for this lies in no small part with the script and dialogue). Amilyn's death, when Buffy impales him with something that looks like a sharpened school ruler (to violin music!), is one of the most idiotic deaths this reviewer has ever seen. Amilyn is still writhing and "ugh"-ing and "ah"-ing away during the long-overdue closing credits.
The other supporting vampire characters are also bad. One teenage vampire, Benny, ends up dying twice in the film!
Matters came to a head at the high school ball. For reasons not made clear to the viewer, other than that most of the local vampires appear to be former high school students and that it involves a murky mind-control plan over Buffy, Lothos attacks the high school dance with his minions.
The "the vampire cannot enter a building unless it is invited" rule that TV viewers are familiar with also exists in this film. However, it is sidestepped with the bizarre discovery that one of Buffy's airhead pals, Kimberley (Hilary Swank) had invited then in... "They're seniors!", she indignantly explains.
It would take too long to pick out all the ludricous moments that then follow. Two examples are as follows. Lothos loses his fight with Buffy dies during his muddled invasion of the ball ... "You BITCH!" he cries in his comical shrill voice as he collapses on the floor. There is also the sight of the school principal (Stephen Root) handing out detention slips to impaled vampire corpses.
The film finally comes to an end when we see Buffy and new love of her life Pike (Luke Perry, who later has bad things to say about the film) dancing away to soundtrack music.
This reviewer found it hard to believe that a film like this could have inspired a successful TV series, but that is precisely what did happen. Mind you, there're lots of changes. A new supporting cast was substituted in the TV series, and the rules about vampires were changed (for instance, impaled vampires change to dust. In the film, they stay solid).
There are no TV cast members in the film, though apparently Sarah-Michelle Gellar was in the film in a small role. However, her part ended up on the cutting-room floor. All in all, that was just as well.
This reviewer definitely prefers the TV series to the film. His advice to others is to do the same.
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