1989, Movie, R, 102 mins


The near-surreal world of high-school popularity is imaginatively probed in this black comedy revolving around teenage suicide. With scenes and dialogue sure to offend many, HEATHERS is, nevertheless, a film of startling originality and verve.

The eponymous Heathers (Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker), the most exclusive clique at Westerburg High, routinely drop insufficiently cool friends and humiliate poor Martha "Dumptruck" Dunnstock (Carrie Lynn). Veronica (Winona Ryder), a relatively recent addition to their clique, demonstrates her independence by taking up with J.D. (Christian Slater), a motorcycle-riding misfit, becoming his mostly unwilling accomplice as he murders three of the school's most popular, albeit piggish, students, leaving behind heartrending suicide notes. But what begins as a lark for Veronica becomes a nightmare as she realizes that her mischievous fantasies are diabolical realities for the increasingly psychotic J.D.

HEATHERS might have been a moronic teen gross-out film were it not for the immediacy and careful observation of the surprisingly rich script by Daniel Walters, Michael Lehmann's clever direction, and the extraordinary performances of Ryder and, to a lesser extent, Slater (who does an appropriately creepy, raspy-voiced Jack Nicholson imitation). Dark, cynical, but deliciously funny, HEATHERS is a fascinating look not just at high school but at the way we look at high school. leave a comment

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