Saturday, October 24, 2009

Revisiting Buffy

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 1992
Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui
Writer: Joss Whedon
Starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, Donald Sutherlnad, Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens, Hilary Swank, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Stephen Root and Candy Clark

I am a big time Buffy fanatic, the TV show is one of the few shows I have the complete set on DVD. I had not seen the original movie though, since I saw it in theaters in the summer of 92. I remember it really being the only film of that summer that was really good. But, after watching the show it always felt like I was cheating by going back and watching this. I am sorry I took so long, because I think the film has aged very well. It has bits of flourish that remind me of the show, but it really is a completely different animal. And I think that is a good thing, it separates it from what the TV show was. It is a light, fun and campy film, which works better in a film than it would on a TV series. The cast is very good and the script is funny and flies by at no time at all. Though, I would have liked to have seen what Whedon's original script was really like. This is probably the last vampire film I really enjoyed until 30 Days of Night.
The plot basics are this, Buffy (Swanson) is your typical high school cheerleader, flighty, ditzy and more caring about her fashion sense than anything else. She goes through life as usual until she meets Merrick (Sutherland) a strange man who tells her that she is the chosen one, the Slayer and she has a destiny to slay the undead, otherwise known as vampires. He instructs her how to kill vampires and warns her of the coming of Lothos (Hauer) a ages old vampire who has killed many slayers and Buffy keeps having dreams about him. She soon meets Pike (Perry) who has seen the vampires and soon becomes an ally with her. It all leads to the school dance where Lothos attacks and Buffy must stop him once and for all.
This was a good film. The direction by Kuzui is very well done, it is directed with a very campy feel throughout the entire film and it really works with the material. The script is great, Whedon has a great feel for great dialogue and it shows very well in here. There is much humor in the film but it is more from the situations than the characters, which is always a better route to go. The cast is great, Swanson is a very good protagonist and is very likeable. Sutherland is great as the wise mentor and Hauer is a great main antagonist, he just oozes wickedness. Perry also does a good job as the romantic interest, but I think the best performance is Ruebens as Hauer's lackey. He steals every scene he is in and I loved his death scene. The SFX and the action sequences are done quite well, and I especially love the siege at the dance, that was pulled off really well. This is a campy little horror comedy, that definitely improves with age and if you want to see how the show started you should see this film.
This one gets 3 stakes out of 5

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