Friday, October 31, 2014

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

Note: This review is part of a continuing series on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Read the introduction here.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the brainchild of geek idol Joss Whedon (contributing writer on recent pop subculture and genre-related sensation The Cabin in the Woods), that first saw life as a feature film - though Whedon was not satisfied with what the filmmakers accomplished with his script (a complaint that would be repeated with the abomination that was Alien: Resurrection).

The film is not nearly as impressive or as memorable as the TV series would prove to be (which spanned seven seasons, and which Whedon had much more control over), and it does seem aimed more for laughs than poignant dramatic content. What the film does accomplish is provide the viewer with a crash course in the basic concept of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" (even if some of the finer details would later be adjusted for the TV series' continuity).

Every generation, going back at least as far as the middle ages (and in the TV series, certainly even farther than that), a young woman is "chosen" to be the Slayer. The Slayer (Kristy Swanson in the film version) is trained and instructed by her Watcher (Donald Sutherland), an experienced member of an occult organization, in the finer details of mortal combat against the denizens of darkness (particularly - but by no means limited to - vampires) rampaging throughout the land just under the cover of night.

As I understand it, the crux of Whedon's concept is the juxtaposition of superficial feminine traits (a blonde cheerleader named "Buffy") with the destiny of being a badass righteous avenger and evil's worst nightmare - earning the series a deserving feminist reputation. But all of this would be developed better in the television series, as the film - while certainly not the worst campy horror film ever made, and worth watching if you don't expect too much from it - is, in the end (and especially standing in the towering shadow of the TV series), mostly forgettable.

Continue on to the TV series!

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