Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Genres - Comedy, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Horror Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 31, 1992 (USA)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Unfairly maligned upon initial release (what exactly could critics and viewers expect from a film titled Buffy the Vampire Slayer?) and relegated to a curiosity in light of its admittedly more effective television counterpart, this lightweight and ultimately forgettable early effort from Joss Whedon may not leave any lasting impression on audiences, though it remains an entertaining diversion if nothing else. Notably lighter in tone than the series that followed, the feature version of the popular small-screen stalwart may not offer the deft blend of drama, suspense, and character depth of the series version, though a solid cast and some decidedly over-the-top performances offer an entertaining comic variation on the story. The key factor in enjoying this film is not viewing it in comparison to the television series. Viewed as a precursor to such subsequent self-referential efforts as Scream (1996) and outright horror comedies as Scary Movie (2000), Buffy the Vampire Slayer offers a decidedly less menacing and raunchy spoof of teen films and the vampire mythos. Though its target may not be as specifically defined as those efforts, it shouldn't be altogether dismissed as an unfocused mess either. By no means will Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever be considered either a "good movie" or a truly effective skewering of the genre mainstays or typical high school stereotypes, though forgiving viewers who are willing to judge it on its own merits will ultimately find this easygoing romp a passable 86 minutes of entertainment.