From 1988 comes the teen-cult movie Heathers which, as it’s the 30th anniversary, is heading back to cinemas on August the 18th and available digitally from the 20th.
It’s an interesting time to be putting a film like Heathers back in the cinema. If you’re not aware of the movie, it stars a very young Christian Slater (“True Romance”, “Mr Robot (TV)”) and an equally young Winona Ryder (“Stranger Things (TV)”, “Girl, Interrupted”).
She is the intelligent high-school kid who has dumped most of her nerdy friends trying to get in with the cool girls (the Heathers), whilst he is a sociopath whose father demolishes buildings for a living including one which had their mother in.
The pair go on a killing spree of the popular kids in school, making each death look like a suicide, thinking this will make the deceased laughing stocks whereas, in reality, it turns them into martyrs of sorts, their lives held up as beacons of hope.
As Ryder becomes increasingly questioning of Slater’s mental health, he plots the ultimate mass suicide and only she can stop him.
Daniel Waters (“Hudson Hawk”, “Batman Returns”) is the man behind the writing pad of Heathers with Michael Lehmann (“Hudson Hawk”, “American Horror Story (TV)”) behind the cameras.
Lehmann gives the whole movie a strange, ethereal look, utilising interesting shots and camera angels to make the already surreal script, feel even more so.
There are clever touches such as the popular Heathers playing croquet together, each choosing a coloured ball and mallet, and those colours matching parts of their outfits like socks, tights, jackets etc.
Whilst the school has bold colours, reds and whites, Slater’s character, JD, walks around in a long black trench coat, he’s in the shadows, mysterious, having moved around so much he’s perfected the art of blending into the background.
Ryder, together with Shannon Doherty (“Charmed (TV)”, “90210 (TV)”), Lisanne Falk (“Say Anything…”, “Night On Earth”) and Kim Walker (“Say Anything…”, “The Outsiders (TV)”), all perform beautifully.
They are all as power hungry and bitchy as the next, whilst at the same time all seemingly hating what they do and who they are, feeling like they can’t really say how they feel or be themselves.
The repetition within the film is superb. Ryder has the same conversation with her parents over and over again, involving pate. It highlights what it can feel like to be a teenager, just talking about the same old things again and again with your parents or teachers. There’s also the fact that, when one popular bitch is replaced, another simply pops-up in her place.
Equally, when Ryder’s mum says to her: “When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it’s usually because they are being treated like human beings” it’s absolutely perfect, a harsh truth about growing up.
Heathers, whilst controversial in its subject matter, is still a good film. Well directed and well written, it’s etched into society, a society that arguably now mirrors the movie outside of high school.
There is a Blu-Ray, 4K restoration of the movie for the release and probably lots of bonus stuff too. However, we weren’t sent any of that, so I can’t say what it is or what the restoration is like. You’ll have to judge that for yourself.