What’s this? There’s a Buffy movie? With no Xander, Cordelia, Willow, Giles, Wesley, or Angel? And no Sarah Michelle Gellar? What is the madness? This was my reaction to the discovery of this film. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a much-loved TV show that ran between 1997 and 2003. What most people don’t know, however, is that the show was actually an adaptation of a 1992 film based around the origins of the character, Buffy Summers.
The reason most people aren’t aware of Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s existence is because the writer Joss Whedon tried to distance himself and the show away from this project as much as possible. He has stated several times that he despises the film because of the way the director and producers took his script about a teenage vampire slayer that was supposed to spin the ˜girl in the dark alley gets killed’ trope on its head and have a feministic, empowering film with a comedic edge and turned it into an out-and-out comedy. The result is nothing short of a disaster. It’s bad on its own, but when it’s compared to the TV show that came after (which everyone will do, no matter how open-minded you are), it’s absolutely abysmal.
Buffy Summers (Kristy Swanson) has the perfect high-school girl lifestyle. She’s a cheerleader, all the boys love her, and she’s the most popular girl in school. That is, until a mysterious man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) tells her that he is a ˜watcher’ and she is the chosen vampire slayer. Each generation, one girl is chosen and given super-human powers in order to battle the vampires and demons that walk the earth. Merrick trains her to defeat Lothos (Rutger Hauer), the vampire master who threatens to destroy the earth.
The Buffy The Vampire Slayer summary you just read is literally the entire plot. There are a couple more characters here and there, but they are all pointless. And the ending, without any spoilers, is exactly what you think it is. It doesn’t do anything to make itself stand out. The acting is mediocre at best, with Kristy Swanson being pretty good (nothing on Sarah Michelle Gellar, of course), Donald Sutherland giving off the feeling that he really doesn’t want to be there and David Arquette giving one of the worst performances of his career, rivalled only by Scream 3.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is an interesting watch. It’s the prime example of how executive meddling can break a film. It was originally supposed a dark, horror-based female empowerment story with comedic undertones, like the show. It’s almost worth watching to see what Buffy could have been.