Release Date: 31 July 1992 (USA)
Cast: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry, Rutger Hauer
Running Time: 1hr 26min
Buffy Summers is an ordinary girl – high school senior, cheerleader, jock boyfriend. A shallow and clichéd all-American teenager. But then one day everything changes. Buffy is approached by a strange man named Merrick, who informs her that she is a slayer – the latest in a long line of young girls chosen (called by fate) to hunt and kill vampires.
This is when Buffy discovers she has abilities and reflexes she never knew she possessed, and Merrick begins to train her. Around the same time, drifter Pike notices his friend Benny has started exhibiting strange behavior and deduces that he is a vampire. Meanwhile, Lothos, the lord of vampires begins killing students and is drawn into conflict with the slayer.
After a particularly dicey confrontation in an abandoned fairground, Buffy is incapacitated by Lothos, who then kills Merrick when he tries to intervene. Having lost her mentor Buffy teams up with Pike, and they try to take down the vampires and make the school dance.
Most people who hear the name Buffy the Vampire Slayer will rightly associate it with the television masterpiece it became. But, before that, it existed purely as a flop teen comedy-horror vehicle. This is a movie that Joss Whedon laments to this day because of how it was misappropriated by the director and producers. Totally missing the point of his work, Fran Rubel Kuzui, and husband Kaz, decided to make a broad high school comedy about what people thought about vampires.
Kristy Swanson is perfectly cast as airheaded cheerleader-come-undead-fighter Buffy, while Luke Perry provides suitable eye-candy. Donald Sutherland and Rutger Hauer do their best with what they’ve got, but that’s not much. There are some notable early appearances from young actors (Ben Affleck and Hilary Swank), but overall this is a disappointing suck fest.
Fans of the series will probably want to watch out of curiosity, to really see where the skeleton and framework of this world came from. The story and themes are interesting but wasted by poor direction and vision. This is a concept and character Whedon would explore and evolve much more successfully in the cult television series.