First Kill looks great on paper. LBGTQ+ teen love story, diverse cast, two female lead characters, 50% women directors, wrapped up with vampires and monster hunters. It wasn’t as good as it sounded, but it wasn’t as bad as a lot of people are saying.
I went into First Kill thinking I probably wouldn’t watch it all. But I did. I got interested in the characters and I wanted to know what would happen next. It was sometimes slow, sometimes corny, sometimes predictable, and the twists were soap opera worthy.
The story explores what happens when two starcrossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet knockoffs, meet in high school and fall for each other. Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook) comes from a long line of vampires and is of an age when she needs to make her first kill and start feeding on the folks in her home town of Savannah.
Calliope “Cal” (Imani Lewis) comes from a long line of monster hunters whose whole purpose in life is to kill people like Juliette and her family. Cal and Juliette fall for each other and vow never to hurt each other.
The families of these two girls are enemies and do everything they can to keep them apart. Cal’s family includes her mom (Aubin Wise) and dad (Jason R. Moore) and two older brothers Theo (Phillip Mullings, Jr.) and Apollo (Dominic Goodman). They lived wherever they were sent in search of monsters to kill.
Juliette’s family includes mom (Elizabeth Mitchell) and dad (Will Swenson) as well as older twins Elinor (Gracie Dzienny) and Oliver (Dylan McNamara). Juliette’s grandmother, Davina (Polly Draper), is the leader of all the vampires – she comes complete with snakes. Elinor is in line to become the vampire queen eventually and she can’t wait to have all that power to herself. Elinor is also teaching Juliette how to go about her first kill.
Juliette’s best friend Ben (Jonas Dylan Allen) had another less developed gay storyline and served as Juliette’s human sidekick.
First Kill follows in a long tradition of love stories involving vampires. It’s safe to say that most of them are better than this one. The strong point in this series is the relationship between Cal and Juliette. It was done with maturity and good sense. By maturity, I don’t mean explicit sex, I mean they were both pretty level headed. The romance was used as a focal point for all sorts of complications involving family loyalty, duty, respect, acceptance, and love. If your main interest is the lesbian representation, you’ll probably like this series.
Women directors included Amanda Tapping and Jet Wilkinson. They directed 4 of the 8 episodes. This series is on Netflix. You can see every episode immediately.
3 responses to “First Kill, soapy teen drama monster style”
Was it campy and cheesey? Most definitely, but in the best possible way. I was expecting to hate and be annoyed by it, but I ended up really enjoying it. Mostly because of the quality of the leads. It was a silly, campy, fun romp and I really hope it gets renewed.
I was glad I watched it too. I’d read several bad reviews from the “big important” reviewers. Kind of discouraged me. I should have remembered I seldom agree with the big reviewers.
Big Reviewers are notoriously bad at evaluating genre works. They have a tendency to misunderstand the expectations of genre film. The camp is part of the meat and bones of the genre. We’re here for all the stuff they nitpick about.