I have a nasty habit of staying loyal to actors I enjoy. The Buffy cast is a prime example of this. I’ve lost track of the many terrible, terrible films I’ve watched because David Boreanaz/Seth Green/Eliza Dushku was in it. So I’ve seen more than my fair share of Sarah Michelle Gellar projects. Here’s the lowdown…
Suburban Girl (2007)SMG plays an ambitious but neurotic woman chasing a promotion and an older man. Horribly selfish, the end of the film sort of implies that if you’re a bad person you’ll end up unhappy, but it’s kind of garbled and anyway, it’s really not very good. At all.
The Return (2006)This is a tedious, incoherent mess of a ghost story which takes all the tired old cliches of this kind of horror movie and does nothing even slightly interesting with them. Sarah Michelle Gellar is wasted on this crap.
The Grudge 2 (2006)
Southland Tales (2006)Yes, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a porn star. No, that doesn’t mean what you’re probably hoping it means. Richard Kelly’s troubled second movie is overlong and even more incomprehensible than Donnie Darko; the best scene features Justin Timberlake and a Killers song.
The Grudge (2004)Tedious retread of an already not brilliant movie. I feel bad giving the sequel an extra star, but I really enjoyed it more than this. Sorry, Sarah.
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)The dangers of going in reverse chronological order strike again! Sarah Michelle Gellar is a competent Daphne; this probably isn’t as good as the first Scooby Doo movie, but neither of them are great. Neither of them are as bad as you’ve probably heard, either. But it’s really Matthew Lillard’s show. I could mention Sarah Michelle Gellar’s real-life husband (… I’ve only just remembered that she did change her name recently to reflect her marriage, but I’m way too far gone now to change anything!) Freddie Prinze Jnr, but, um. He’s kind of unremarkable. He probably could have been replaced with a cardboard cut-out without anyone noticing.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)Every single episode of every single season of Buffy probably deserves its own individual star rating, but I’m just going to go ahead and award the series, as a whole, the highest possible rating. It’s my favourite series of all time. If that doesn’t warrant a 5/5 from me, what could? This is Sarah Michelle Gellar’s defining role, the thing she’s best known for, and by far the most complex and interesting character she’s ever played. Mostly ’cause she played her for 7 years.
Scooby Doo (2002)Matthew Lillard’s chemistry with a computer-generated cartoon dog lifts these films out of the hole they’d otherwise be consigned to. Sarah Michelle Gellar is, y’know, fine, as Daphne. It’s not the world’s most challenging role, is it?
Cruel Intentions (1999)
Scream 2 (1997)Possibly the best horror movie sequel ever made, this was kickass. Really, really scary. The only thing that mars Sarah Michelle Gellar’s performance is that she’s playing exactly the type that both the Buffy and Scream franchises were designed to ridicule – the brainless blonde who, when confronted with a knife-wielding maniac, screams and runs upstairs to her doom. It’s still a fantastic movie, though.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)Distressingly, I Know What You Did Last Summer is one of the better teen horror franchises that was hastily knocked out to take advantage of Scream’s popularity. It was never anywhere near as good. Sarah Michelle Gellar doesn’t even get the Last Girl role, instead meeting her doom metres away from a marching band. No, seriously.
Not seen: Simply Irresistible, Harvard Man, Happily N’Ever After, The Air I Breathe, TMNT, Possession…
In conclusion, then: following actors from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to their other projects is almost always a waste of time. It’ll only be a bitter, bitter disappointment.