First Kill (2022) – Review

A vampire hunter tries to stake a Legacy vampire’s heart.. but ends up stealing it instead.

The enemies-to-lovers trope in TV shows, particularly in the paranormal romance realm, is all too familiar to the general public. So what does First Kill bring to the table then? It ticks all the boxes of an entertaining drama show about star-crossed lovers: teenagers with cheesy dialogue, substandard CGI effects at times, romance, and action – nothing too mind blowing, right?

Despite the prevalence of these types of shows, ones featuring two sapphic lovers as the main characters don’t pop up that often. And considering the lore of vampires in relation to queerness – such as Dracula, Carmilla, and an Interview with a Vampire, it’s all the more surprising that First Kill might be one of the first modern shows centering a lesbian couple in the supernatural world. Besides its representation, director Steven C. Miller has a flair for over-the-top familial drama, akin to that in Romeo and Juliet (which is actually referenced a few times, not very subtle!)

The predicament begins when Legacy vampire Juliette (Sarah Hook) meets vampire hunter Calliope (Imani Lewis) – and while she starts crushing on her enemy, Calliope (unbeknownst to Juliette) starts plotting her murder. After all, all monsters are bad – or so she’s taught. It doesn’t come as a surprise when Calliope starts falling for her too, although there’s doubt as to whether Juliette uses her special Legacy vampire powers to manipulate her. This is one of those guilty-pleasure shows, similar to the Vampire Diaries and Supernatural. It’s not quite “so bad it’s good”, but it is hovering into “corny entertainment for a late Friday night” territory – and I love it.

The plot is nowhere near being original but it provides the right kind of laughs and entertainment. Besides the chemistry of the two main actresses, the family drama is also enjoyable, especially coming from Juliette’s sister Elinor. The humor doesn’t disappoint, although it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a teen drama. It definitely doesn’t insist upon itself, which I kind of appreciate – some
romance shows these days try to set themselves apart by contriving a specific intellectual narrative, which is fine in and of itself – but if it fails, then it’s a little bit cringe-worthy.

Overall, I’d recommend this show if you like drama, romance, vampires peppered with amusing dialogue. These are elements that I often don’t actively seek, but it’s a good way to pass the time. On top of that, I’ve been loving the kind of queer representation that doesn’t frequently appear on TV. Historically marginalized groups are sometimes put on a pedestal and expected to put out more “impactful” value in entertainment, but both more meaningful and cheesy trope-filled media can coexist. First Kill is the latter, and I’m looking forward to more of it in the next season.

Rating 3/5

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