October 10, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This Movie Sucks More Than a Vampire

Posted in movies tagged , , at 2:23 pm by Jenn

Spandex: scarier than any bloodsucker

Summary: A James Earl Jones wannabe tells us that since the dawn of time, the Slayer has been responsible for protecting people from evil, while being looked over by a Watcher. In the Dark Ages, a Slayer gets a weapon from her Watcher. Buffy (Kristy Swanson) and her fellow cheerleaders perform at a basketball game at their high school. Later, Buffy and three of her friends (one of whom is Kimberly, played by Hilary Swank) go to the mall and Buffy complains about a history test she didn’t do well on. They discuss going to a movie and use slang like “stale” and “bogus.”

Merrick (Donald Sutherland) tries to get in an elevator with the girls, who make fun of his clothes and think he’s homeless. Buffy’s friends think she’s lucky because her parents are always going away for the weekend. They talk through a movie while Benny (David Arquette) and Pike (Luke Perry) complain about them. After the movie, Buffy meets up with a guy named Jeff who’s going to meet her at her house that night. Meanwhile, their friend Ben goes by a carnival and gets killed by Amilyn (Paul Reubens). Buffy’s flighty parents leave for the weekend while Buffy and Jeff make out in the living room.

Back in what looks like Elizabethan times, a Slayer fights off some bad guys but gets captured. Buffy wakes up from her dream about this as some ancient creature is almost brought back to life. At school, Buffy and her friends discuss themes for a school dance, settling on the environment. Principal Murray (Stephen Root) sends them to class. They continue the conversation at some teen hangout that night and Buffy officially meets Pike and Benny. Benny gets all sexual-harassy on Buffy. The guys end up by the side of a road, where Amilyn finds them and bites Benny. Merrick shows up and takes a totally out-of-it Pike away.

Buffy stays behind after a cheerleading practice and does some gymnastics while Merrick watches. He tells her he’s been looking for her everywhere because he wanted to bring her her birthright. She’ll have to come with him to a graveyard to get it. Buffy’s not too bright, but she’s at least smart enough to know better than to go to a cemetery with a creepy old man. Merrick tells her she’s “chosen” and has to help stop the vampires. She asks if Elvis talks to him. Merrick notices that she has a birthmark and calls it the Sign of the Covenant.

Merrick asks if Buffy ever has dreams about being someone else. He guesses what some of them are, even though she’s never told anyone about them. He tells her this has to do with her birthright, and he’s part of it. Buffy agrees to go to the cemetery with Merrick and he takes her to the grave of a guy named Robert Berman who died three days earlier. He gives her a stake and tells her to watch. They’re waiting for Robert to wake up. “Do you have any gum?” Buffy asks. Meanwhile, her friend Cassandra is totally in danger.

Robert comes out of his grave and Merrick goes after him with a stake. He’s really bad at this. Another supposedly dead person comes out of a grave and Buffy fights her off as Merrick struggles with Robert. Buffy winds up staking both vampires. Benny, now with fangs, comes to see Pike and asks to be invited in. Pike notices that he looks bad. Oh, and he can fly now, so there’s that. Merrick drives Buffy home and tells her to act normal when she goes to school the next day. When the vampires find out who she is, they’ll come after her. He gives her an address and tells her to meet him after school, though she has practice. Buffy clarifies that vampires can’t come in unless invited.

Buffy comes home late and her mother doesn’t notice that she’s dirty and bloody. She dreams about going to bed with Lothos (Rutger Hauer) in a room that’s definitely not her room. Amilyn takes Cassandra to the place where he’s been trying to raise Lothos, who seems to have been completed restored. Merrick stalks Buffy at school, mad that she didn’t meet him. She tells him he’s wrong about her being the girl he’s been looking for. He pretends to accept this, then throws a knife at her. She catches it and he notes that only the chosen one could have done that.

Buffy tells Merrick that all she wants to do is graduate, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. She asks if he knew she was sitting on a fresh grave the night before. When he confirms this, she punches him in the face, pleased to see that she didn’t even break a nail. Cue a training montage with a punching bag, tires, rope, and stakes. Also, lots of neon and leggings. Later, Merrick asks Buffy how Lothos makes her feel in her dreams. She admits to being scared.

Principal Murray summons Buffy to his office, thinking she’s on drugs. She spits a jelly bean at a spider and pins it to the wall. Pike works on a van at a garage, telling his mechanic boss that something weird is going on in town and he should get out. He also mentions that something weird is going on with Benny. Buffy walks home alone at night and runs into a vampire. She uses her new Slayer skills to fight and kill him. It was actually a trap, and Merrick warns Buffy not to get herself into trouble with multiple vampires.

Buffy’s been having cramps, which Merrick says is a natural Slayer reaction to unnatural vampires. This should help her track them. Buffy’s upset that she’s risking her life while Merrick does nothing. He tells her he’s trained a ton of girls and isn’t allowed to interfere, no matter how exceptional his Slayer is. Buffy wonders if he has to keep being a Watcher until there are no more vampires. She assures Merrick that her keen fashion sense will keep her alive. He sarcastically comments that all vampires should beware, and she teases him about cracking a joke.

Pike’s van breaks down, but it’s okay because some friendly guys with fangs are coming along to help him. Oh, wait, one of them is Amilyn. Pike tries to lose him but Amilyn has a tight grip on the front of the van. He climbs up to the roof and punches through it, trying to grab Pike. He falls off when he’s hit with a branch, losing an arm in the process. Pike crashes into a tree and has to ditch the van. Amilyn’s mad that Pike tore his new jacket and tells his minions, “Kill him a lot.” Pike starts fighting them, then is joined by Buffy, who kills the two minions.

Merrick shows up as well and Pike recognizes him before passing out. Buffy takes Pike to her place and confirms his suspicions that the minions were vampires. He tells her one of his friends is, too. Buffy confides in Pike that her whole life has changed in three weeks, and everything she thought was important before now seems stupid. She invites him to sleep in the guest room, but he wants to stay in the living room and make sure the sun comes up. Lothos blasts Amilyn for leaving Buffy and Pike behind. Amilyn is so incompetent that Lothos isn’t sure how he made it through the Crusades. Then he goes to eat a cat.

At school, Buffy’s friends discuss Cassandra but aren’t entirely broken up about her death. A jock grabs Buffy’s butt, so she attacks him up. Later, she complains to Merrick about her slaying interfering with her cheerleading. He comes to a basketball game, where Buffy’s the only person who notices that one of the players is now a vampire. A ref tries to get him kicked out of the game for floating. The other players won’t play defense against him because he’s weird. (“He has no concept of zones,” one of them remarks.) Even Ben Affleck is freaked out. (No, seriously, Ben Affleck is in this movie.)

Buffy trips the player and faces off with him, making him run off. She chases after him, telling Merrick that the vampire knows who she is. She gets hassled by some bikers, beats on one, takes his motorcycle, and keeps chasing the vampire. The vamp loses her by jumping over a fence, but Pike sees Buffy riding by and goes after her on his own bike. They wind up at a spot where parade floats are stored, and the vamp uses one to run Buffy down. She tries to remind him who she is, since they used to be friends. A couple of vamp minions grab her, but before the vamp can bite her, Pike stakes him. Together, Buffy and Pike kill the minions, then almost make out.

Lothos and Amilyn appear, and Pike wants to run but Buffy’s entranced by Lothos. Merrick shows up as well and Lothos asks if he’s finally brought someone worthy. He starts to bite Buffy, but Merrick stops him. He starts to stake Lothos, who stabs him with his own weapon. Lothos and Amilyn leave as Lothos doesn’t think Buffy’s ready. A dying Merrick tells Buffy that she does everything wrong, but that’s good. “When the music stops, the rest is silence,” he says. Then he dies.

The next day, Buffy’s friends discuss her sudden disappearance from the game. She shows up and tells them she met an older guy a few weeks ago. They think she’s having an affair. Buffy asks them if they’ve noticed weird things going on. They tease her for hanging out with Pike and ask why she keeps blowing off all of her activities. Buffy blasts them for being so excited for a school dance. That night, Pike tracks her down as she’s out looking for a dress for the dance. He doesn’t understand why she’s going when the world is under attack. She blames herself for Merrick’s death. “I’m the chosen one, and I choose to be shopping,” she says. Benny overhears this.

The news spreads to Amilyn and Lothos, who plan to go after Buffy on Saturday, the day of the dance. Pike whittles stakes and makes himself look pretty while Buffy picks out a dress. On Saturday, everyone gets ’90s-glammed-up and dances. Buffy arrives in a white dress and looks for Jeff, who’s come with another girl, one of Buffy’s friends. He left her a break-up message on her answering machine. Pike arrives and dances with Buffy. He tells her she’s not like other girls, but she says she is. They finally make out.

Vampires attack, and Buffy tells everyone they can’t come in unless they’re invited. Kimberly says she already invited them – “they’re seniors!” Fortunately, Buffy has a bag of weapons and is ready to fight. Pike gives her his leather jacket, for some reason. Despite the fact that there are 20 vampires (I’m pretty sure one of them is Seth Green) and just Buffy fighting them, she doesn’t get killed. Pike isn’t very good at protecting the kids in the gym, though. Amilyn finds Buffy, who mocks his hair and tries to hide from him. Benny attacks Pike, offering to turn him into a vampire.

Amilyn tracks down Buffy (which isn’t a surprise, since she didn’t do a very good job of hiding) and warns that he’s immortal and can do anything. Lothos appears, playing a violin; hilariously, he brought a metronome with him. Buffy uses the distraction to her advantage and stakes Amilyn. “You’re going to wish you’d died,” he says, then takes approximately five minutes to die. Lothos notes that Amilyn was Buffy’s first real kill, and Lothos’ last gift to her. In the gym, Pike throws holy water in Benny’s face. Lothos tilts Buffy’s head and tells her it’s “time to put away childish things.”

Suddenly everything is quiet, and Buffy remembers what Merrick said about silence. She tells Lothos it’s too late. “You and I are one,” he says – they’re joined. She fights him and he says she’s just like all the other girls. Buffy holds up a cross, lights it on fire, and uses hairspray to ignite it and burn Lothos. In the gym, the principal hands out detentions and knocks out Kimberly for freaking out. Buffy returns and tells someone to find Pike.

Lothos arrives with a big sword, telling Buffy that she’s his destiny, so he could never hurt her. Instead, he’s going to kill everyone else. Buffy grabs a flag and uses the pole for a sword fight. Just as Lothos is about to finish her off, Pike attacks him and gets his attention off of Buffy. She uses a wooden chair to fend off Lothos’ sword, and when the sword breaks it, she uses a piece to stake him. Buffy revives a dazed Pike and confirms that they’ve won the battle. They dance, then ride off on his motorcycle.

Thoughts: If I hadn’t been recapping this movie, I wouldn’t have watched all of it. It is so, so bad. Like, Karen Brewer levels of annoying. Everyone in this movie could do better. Okay, maybe not David Arquette. I think the biggest problem is the camp factor. Everything that’s supposed to be serious can’t be taken seriously. The series is much darker, and its funny moments are funnier.

Kristy Swanson makes a pretty good Buffy, but I don’t think she could have handled it on the show. Sarah Michelle Gellar IS Buffy.

The dreams about past Slayers don’t come up in the series until the last season of the show, I think. At least I don’t remember Buffy mentioning them before that.

Merrick sucks as a Watcher. Giles FTW!

Hee, “kill him a lot” made me laugh out loud. I think that was the only part that did.

I think I have a crush on Luke Perry now.


  1. crisap444 said,

    This is all because they threw Joss Whedon off the set and didn’t let him film the actual script which looks a lot better on paper.

  2. thesquonk said,

    The movie is not so bad…but people’s view of it has changed due to the very different, and more successful, TV version.


  3. Lara said,

    But the point of having a good fantasy movie is making it as believable as possible. So when it comes to this movie, Jenn’s right, “Everything that’s supposed to be serious can’t be taken seriously. The series is much darker, and its funny moments are funnier.” Viewers of 90’s like me, were contented with the graphic affects or props, but the screenplay is not enough. Especially with the fact that it came from TV series. It should be much more.

    I can’t wait for “Ten Things I Hate About You.”

  4. […] Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This Movie Sucks More Than a Vampireshared: October 10th […]

  5. S. Neal said,

    Okay, I gotta be honest here and say that I adore this film cause I’m a lover of 80s/90s style films like this. Personally, the campiness of this film is what makes it so much more fun and likeable than the t.v. series in my opinion. I mean, the movie had an all-star cast of well-known performers and Kristy Swanson really shines on with her portrayal of Valley-girl mall-shopping cheerleader turned vamp-hunter Buffy in this flick. You had some kick ass fight scenes, not to mention a bad-ass soundtrack with artists like Ozzy Osbourne, the Divinyls, C&C Music Factory and so forth.

    To me, the t.v. series lacked some of these things and also the fact that the series was darker than the movie was also a problem for me. The movie was more light humored than the t.v. show and the writers tried to utilize some really dark moments for the sake of throwing in a moment of dark humor here and there. I mean, there was one episode I remember where Willow’s vampire doppelganger had crossed over and had taken the customers at the Bronze hostage. She chose an innocent bystander named Sandy (who had done nothing wrong) to make an example out of her:

    Willow (brings Sandy to the center of the floor with her, speaking to patrons): If you’re all good boys and girls, we’ll make you strong and young…*forever*. We’ll have fun. But…if you’re not…

    (vamps out and bites poor Sandy on her neck, draining her of blood and killing her)

    Willow (back in original form)…Questions? Comments?

    That was just too brutal for my taste. And the witty sarcasm that Vamp Willow through in the air with the ‘questions comments’ line made me say, “That’s supposed to be humorous?’ I mean, if it was, it was dark humor and I kinda couldn’t see the punchline that Alyson Hannigan’s character was trying to insinuate into the situation.

    Granted the movie does have its flaws, but it was enjoyable because it didn’t waste time trying to take itself seriously. From start to finish, the movie was able to grab my attention and didn’t let go until the end.

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