Netflix ‘First Kill’ Review: Iffy CGI Distracts From Emma Roberts’ Teen Vampire Drama

Netflix‘s First Kill, executive produced by Emma Roberts and starring Sarah Catherine Hook and Imani Lewis, was mediocre at best. The eight-episode teen drama based on the short story by New York Times best-selling author Victoria “V. E.” Schwab misses the mark in more ways than one. Let’s unpack the latest teen vampire series. 

Netflix's 'First Kill' gets a three-star review from Showbiz Cheat Sheet
Netflix’s ‘First Kill’ was Mediocre

[SPOILER ALERT: Mild spoilers ahead for First Kill.]

Netflix’s ‘First Kill’ is a sapphic vampire love story 

First Kill is a modern-day Romeo and Juliet following two star-crossed lovers. This time around, it’s Calliope “Cal” Burns (Lewis) and her family of monster hunters falling in love with Juliette Fairmont (Hook) and her legacy vampire family.

It’s love at first sight when Juliette sets eyes on her new classmate Cal. But with her heightened vampy senses tingling, can Juliette successfully hook up with Cal without killing her? 

The series begins with both girls under pressure to obtain their “first kill.” Juliette’s legacy vamp mother, Margot (Elizabeth Mitchell), and made-vampire father Sebastian (Will Swenson), want her to join the clan by exsanguinating her first human. The problem is Juliette isn’t a blood-thirsty vampire — she’s a loyal friend with a massive crush on her classmate. 

Then there’s Cal, whose family is also eager for her to step in line with the family business. She’s more than ready to prove herself to parents Talia (Aubin Wise) and Jack (Jason Robert Moore) and older brothers Apollo (Dominic Goodman) and Theo (Phillip Mullings Jr.). But after she botches her first kill, can Cal right the ship? Not with a blossoming romance that upends both families’ belief systems.

‘First Kill’s teen angst and lusty make-out scenes don’t make up for its bland execution

At the best of times, First Kill feels like a vampire soap opera with moments that’ll make you gasp and cliffhanger endings. Even in the cheesiest moments — Cal and Juliette literally have a date on the set of their school’s play, Romeo and Juliet — falling into the plot of First Kill isn’t difficult. Staying enthralled with it is where it gets tricky. 

At its worst, First Kill‘s questionable CGI — especially Sebastian’s (Will Swenson) big kill — completely derails the fantasy. Schwab wrote the story and executive produced the Netflix series, so there’s no doubt the show has her stamp of approval. Budget constraints were likely a concern, but iffy CGI distracts from any writing and acting, however good it might be. Better graphics could turn First Kill into the next Riverdale/Twilight crossover, especially with the angsty teen drama and lust-worthy cast. 

Elinor Fairmont (Gracie Dzienny) with fans in Netflix's 'First Kill'
Gracie Dzienny as Elinor Fairmont in ‘First Kill’ | Netflix

What First Kill does well is lean into monster lore, which is admittedly intricate. Instead of the traditional TV vampire, First Kill presents the idea of legacy vampires who descended from Lillith in the Garden of Eden. The series also introduces various other monsters, including zombies and witches, all of which vary from their traditional portrayals in media, albeit with some cheesy CGI. 

If you’re a vampire love story stan, First Kill might be worth watching. Be prepared to fall in and out of love, though. 

First Kill is streaming now on Netflix. 

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