Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie Poster Image
Flippant horror comedy that birthed the TV show.
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 86 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The title character has become something of an icon of teenage female empowerment, even though she's kind of an airhead here (though she matures over the story). Except for supernatural mentor-figures, parents, elders, and teachers are barely visible buffoons.

Violence

Many, many vampires get skewered on stakes, but blood (ironically) is rare, even when one of the undead has his arm torn off. Martial arts-style kicking and punching, reckless motorcycling and driving stunts. One vampire singed with a flame-thrower-like burst of ignited hairspray.

Sex

Push-up bras and corsets, some skimpy clothing. Male students say they would enjoy sex with the heroine, without going into much detail (except for praising Buffy's "yobbles," apparently a euphemism for breasts).

Language

Prominent use of "bitch," "ass," and the s-word uttered once.

Consumerism

Buffy's superior "fashion sense" is a strong component of the plot, and there's a natural tie-in to the TV series and comics spin-offs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mainly one gag monologue in which a pompous school administrator, suspecting Buffy of abusing drugs, speaks fondly of his 1960s narcotics experimentation and LSD trips.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this forerunner of the classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series has a much different, less serious flavor (and a different cast) than the program. There is mild swearing and verbal sexual innuendo. Though violence is frequent, it's also cartoon-like and almost entirely bloodless, even when people are killed and vampires are being speared or, in one case, deprived of an arm. Except for supernatural mentors (master vampires and vampire-hunters) adults appear either idiotic or inconsequential, and a man in his 50s is considered disgustingly old.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJulia from Sweden January 4, 2011

crappy + buffy is if possible even more rude than on the show. not witty.

Watch the show instead. It may seem boring the first episode, but it gets better. The movie is impossible to watch. + buffy is stupid and her rude remarks aren... Continue reading
Parent Written byJennifer B. July 26, 2017

Strong Female Roles

Buffy shows females leading the pack for a change.
Kid, 12 years old August 24, 2011

Its a great movie and you should watch the tv show

this film is a great family movie for 12 and teens as it only has one rude scene with a sausauge
Kid, 10 years old April 3, 2015

AWESOME

I loved the movie. The TV show was a lot better. It is good for family movie night. It was a lot more appropriate than the show.

What's the story?

Buffy (Kristy Swanson), a pretty and popular blonde of the "Valley Girl" variety at a Pasadena-area high school, suffers strange dreams at the same time her peers start falling victim to a vampire invasion led by master vampire Lothos (Rutger Hauer). A roving vampire hunter named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) tells Buffy she's destined to be a "slayer," a born hunter-killer of vampires, and he trains her in how to fight the fiends. Buffy has to make some serious choices, however, when responsibility of exterminating vampires hurts her standing with her boyfriend and cheerleader squad-mates.

Is it any good?

Buffy's millions of TV fans may be surprised at the tomfoolery tone. Here the premise of a bloodsucker-battling cheerleader is milked at least half the time for gonzo humor, send-ups of Southern California stereotypes (fashion-conscious girls, New-Agey teachers) and some feminism lite, as Buffy evolves into being less like the characters in Clueless and more of a self-reliant warrior princess (though along the way she picks up a new, equally non-conformist boyfriend).

This is a lot fluffier than the good-vs.-evil gravitas from the prime-time saga. The vampires, though dangerous, are also rather goofy, more akin to bad boyfriends or rival-school punk nuisances. For example, one infiltrates the varsity basketball team and intimidates opponents with his fangs and hoops skills.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different ways that popular-culture storytellers have handled vampires, from Dracula to Twilight. They have symbolized pure evil but also romance and sexuality. Here vampires -- who look kind of like a marauding gang from a rival high school -- serve as a sort of catalyst for Buffy to grow up and realize there is more to life than classroom popularity. What do you think of this Buffy compared to the revamped TV version?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate