Now much has been written about this movie. It is a far cry from the TV show which would come later. Is it a good movie or a bad movie? Well let's take a look.
Joss Whedon had a thought, what if the blonde girl who runs from the monsters stopped and fought the monsters. It was a fun idea and one that would change his life forever.
But not for a while. He started writing it while working on Roseanne. In order to get it made he had to sell it and Fran Kuzui would go on to Direct it. Changing a lot of what Whedon wanted.
Through out the film you can see the Whedon whit, the characters types that would go on to populate his many worlds but at the same time miss the heart of what makes him such a fan favorite.
The movie opens up as a slayer is called in olden times Europe. Her watcher who is played by Donald Sutherland warns her that she can't ever let the vampires find out who she is. It isn't long before we see that he is still alive in modern times and is looking for Buffy. That is a very weird choice, making the watcher immortal. I don't know how I feel about that, it could be interesting but it could easily go wrong, I feel that it did in this film.
What of our star? Buffy Summers is a shallow cheerleader who seems more stupid than anything else. She has a jockey boyfriend who seems like a real jerk, not something that the Buffy we will come to love would ever allow.
Now we see that there is an old and powerful vampire who kills the slayer from the start of the film, from there we see him waking up in the here and now.
At a local club Buffy and her friends make fun of two outsiders, Pike and his his friend. It isn't long before the vampire king's lackey turns Pike's friend into a vampire. He's the Jessy of his time.
Buffy meets her watcher and he tells her the history and destiny of the slayer. Kristy Swanson is a good actress but she doesn't bring the character to life very well. Maybe it is my bias of being a fan of the show but Sarah Michelle Geller gave the character an edge that Swanson doesn't seem to have. This scene of learning about the Slayer history isn't believable. It just seems poorly acted and missing heart. Their interactions through out the film are almost painful to watch, they have no real chemistry. Again I could be putting it up to Buffy and Giles as a comparison and that isn't fair. They had 7 years to build it and this movie only had a few hours but still there was more going on in Welcome to the Hellmouth than there is on this film.
The first time she sees a vampire is in a graveyard when Merrick, the name of her watcher takes her to train. It is something right out of a cheesy B-Movie, which is the point. It's fun and light and one of the more enjoyable parts of the film, if you like corny which I do.
Pike's best friend flies up to his window and asks to be let in. Pike doesn't, no idea why he would. The only thing I want to know is why is he not more freaked out? If my friend could suddenly fly I would be a great deal more freaked out. He's flying for crying out loud!
It seems that no matter what universe Buffy is in, her mother doesn't seem to care about her at all. I mean she comes home late and is covered in dirt and her mother doesn't care at all. It insane. Not as insane as the flying vampire that haunts her dream. I'm guessing that makes him the head vamp but there are better ways to convey vampire powers than swinging guys on wires. It just looks so fake.
Buffy skips out on meeting up with Merrick so that she can go to cheer-leading but he comes to find her and try and talk her into fulfilling her duty. She ends up listening and thus starts the Rocky montage. Only nowhere near as inspiring.
Pike quits his job and plans on fleeing. Who could blame him, his best friend is a bloody vampire that tried to come into his home and kill him. Meanwhile Buffy confronts Merrick about how she is the one that risks her life while he sits around and does nothing. He tells her how he is reborn each generation with the knowledge to help the slayer with her quest.The two of them seem to have a bond that isn't really created on screen. It seems kind of forced this early. It also doesn't help that Swanson doesn't bring the right sarcasm into the role.
Pike is surrounded by vampires as he tries to flee town. He floors it and escapes but just barely. And even then it is only due to the help of Buffy. She is at last starting to fill into her role as hero. She takes him home and tells her what is going on. It takes him a little time to come to terms with it but it is the start of what could only be a true romance. It is weird seeing Buffy feeling all nervous over a guy who not ten minutes earlier had way too much fun making fun of him.
At the basketball game one of the player is now a vampire and is making a scene at the game. Buffy the cheerleader watches from the stands as Ben Afleck, Batman himself, tosses the vampire the ball, afraid of what will happen. Buffy stops him from killing anyone but now he knows who she is. For some reason the slayer has to stay secret in this universe. As if the slayer couldn't hold her own against the forces of evil.
This time Buffy's life is saved by Pike. The Vampire king decides that Buffy isn't ready so he just kills Merrick instead. No more watcher as Buffy moves forward with saving LA from the evil vampire. Buffy's friends all turn on her. She tries to go back to be a normal teenage girl after feeling like a freak. Pike tries to make her see the truth of it all but she doesn't want to see it. She feels like it is her fault that her watcher died. The Valley girl is back and Pike is pissed. Their fight is what tipped the vampires off to her name. Didn't they just see her face like five minutes before this? But now a name changes everything? I guess.
Her boyfriend breaks up with her answering machine and takes her friend to the dance while her other friends act like they don't know her. Her life can't go back to how it use to be. Too much has changed and she is starting to understand just how much.
The vampires attack the dance and Buffy goes outside to face them. There are dozens of vampires, much in the vain of what the Prophecy girl episode will become. Meanwhile the kids inside the party are playing Nazi Zombies as they try and break their way in. Only Pike seems to be holding his own against them. Karma always being a champion of the little guy strikes by letting one of Buffy's old friend get carried off by a vampire.
So the vampire lackey takes forever to die. Over acting like crazy. I get that it was meant to be funny but they tried way too hard to get a laugh from people. Meanwhile the annoying principle is giving dead students detention and knocks out another one of Buffy's old friends. Can teachers do that?
In the end Buffy and Pike took down the vampire king and ride off on his bike into the night. The credits rolls as clips of students and the principle give the news a report of what happened. There is even an after credits scene. It's of the lackey still dying.
Over all it isn't a bad movie. It isn't a great movie either. It is what it is and the show takes the best parts of it and makes it better. Check out the show!