Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry, Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens
Extras: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots

Some of our younger readers here at DVDReview.com may not realize that before the popular TV series ’Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’ with Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared, there was a feature film of the same name. While the title is the same for both products, there is quite a difference in tone and quality. Kristy Swanson stars as Buffy, the stereotypical California ’Valley Girl’ who only cares about cheerleading, boys, and being popular. This all changes when she approached by Merrick (Donald Sutherland) and informed that she is a Slayer, a person born to fight vampires. And this happens just in time, as evil vampire Lothos (Rutger Hauer) and his henchman Lefty (Paul Reubens) have arrived in town to create an army of vampires. Buffy, with the help of new love interest Pike (Luke Perry) must develop her newfound skills and save the senior dance from the undead.

While ’Buffy’ the TV series has been applauded for its dark and serious tone, ’Buffy’ the movie avoids this, trying to combine satirical humor with campy horror. Unfortunately it fails on both fronts, which is really sad, as the main idea in the film is so clever. But, once the idea of a ’vampire killing rich girl’ wears off, the film has nowhere to go, as it’s neither very funny and it’s never scary. ’Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ does contain some funny lines and clever sight gags (mostly coming from Paul Reubens), they are too few and far between. Let’s face it, any movie where Luke Perry and David Arquette are the standouts is in trouble. It’s fortunate for all of us that screenwriter Joss Whedon was able to overcome this film and create the TV series.

’Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ back-flips onto DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen and has been letterboxed at 1.85:1. The image is sharp and clear, showing only minor defects from the source print. Also, the amount of grain on the image is moderate at worst. The colors are very good, as Buffy’s colorful wardrobe looks very natural on this transfer. The audio on the DVD is a Dolby 4.0 Surround track, which offers clear and audible dialogue, along with some occasional surround sound action. But, there is also some hissing on this track, especially during Chapter 12, in a scene which was clearly dubbed. The DVD contains a 4-minute featurette, which offers interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, as well TV spots and a theatrical trailer, which is letterboxed at 2.35:1.