This dark comedy from 1989 was a good showcase for Winona Ryder, playing a high school girl brought into a clique of bitchy classmates (all named Heather), and Christian Slater, doing his early Jack Nicholson thing. While ... more »Ryder's character mulls over the consequences of giving up one set of friends for another, her association with a new boy (Slater) in school turns out to have deadly consequences. Director Michael Lehmann turned this unusual film into something more than another teen-death flick. There is real wit and sharp satire afoot, and the very fusion of horror and comedy is provocative in itself. Heathers remains a kind of benchmark in contemporary cinema for bringing surreal intelligence into Hollywood films. --Tom Keogh« less
"Released in 1989, HEATHERS received sharply mixed reviews. The film was popular in a few major metro markets, but it proved a box office disappointment overall. Although many regarded it as a failed take-off on such "high school angst" films as THE BREAKFAST CLUB, more than a few critics saw it as a film too much ahead of its time and predicted that it would have more of an impact down the road. They were right. When the film began to reach the home market it exploded in popularity, and given such later high school horrors as Columbine today the film seems less take-off than downright prophetic.
It is also one of the most wickedly funny movies to hit the screen since Stanley Kubrik's DR. STRANGELOVE. The story starts off normally enough: extremely bright, extremely attractive Veronica (Winona Ryder) is a high school junior who has fallen in with the high school clique to end all high school cliques, three young women each named Heather (Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk, and Shannen Doherty.) The Heathers are pretty, smart, rich... and intent on shoring up their own social positions by crushing every one around them with a degree of vindictiveness that only the teenagers can successfully carry.
When Veronica meets new student J.D. Dean (Christian Slater) her interest in the Heathers begins to wane and they turn on her. J.D. has his own plan to help Veronica get even. It involves a cup of Liquid Drano--and before Veronica can think she finds herself making a murder look like suicide. The result is, as Veronica puts it, teen-age angst with a body count, and quite suddenly suicide seems the "in thing" at Westerberg High.
If you recall high school fondly, you were probably one of the popular kids. For the rest of us, HEATHERS is so accurate that it will make you wince in its portrait of unthinking cruelty: the meanness of the up-scale cliques and brainless jocks, the ridiculed good kids, the savage assaults on the unpopular ones. it is bitter, bitter stuff.
It is also extremely funny. Much of this is due to a truly brilliant script by Daniel Waters, who recognizes that teens rarely speak to adults in the same way that they speak to each other--and he not only brings forth the casually used profanity, he essentially creates a truly believable and hilariously funny mode of slang that characterizes the "in crowd." And Waters' plot is even more disconcerting and outrageously funny as it runs, with unexpected logic, to a truly deadly conclusion.
The performances are knockouts. Ryder has given quite a few memorable performances, but she has never been more remarkable than she is here as Veronica, the good girl turned unintentional killer; Christian Slater has never topped the performance he gives here as J.D. The "Heathers" are perfectly, flawless cast, as is every one from the weary principal to Veronica's vacuous parents. As for direction, Michael Lehmann moves the film at a rapid clip, hitting more high points than you can imagine. Indeed, everything about the film is first-rate.
The DVD package is very nice, including an interesting audio commentary, an interesting documentary featuring interviews with director, writer, and major cast members (Kim Walker, who died in 2001, sadly excepted), and a script of the ending as originally planned by writer Waters. I recommend the film as a "must have"--but a word of warning. If you were one of the very popular during your high school years, you won't find it in the least enjoyable. Yes: that's really how the rest of us saw you.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
"I'm Worshiped at Westerburg, and I'm Only a Junior."
The Groove | Boston, MA | 12/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a lot of teenagers, popularity takes precedence over high SAT scores or early admission into an Ivy. It's literally viewed as a matter of life or death, and no film brings that truth to life as vividly as "Heathers." Winona Ryder is Veronica, who (along with Heather Duke, Heather McNamara, and Heather Chandler) belongs to Westerburg High School's most elite and coveted clique. These four young women supposedly epitomize the essence of cool, and earning their stamp of approval is as prestigious as getting knighted by Her Majesty. But things get nasty when Veronica violently clashes with one of the Heathers, and shortly thereafter the clique slowly collapses under its own weight. Of course, there's much more to the film's plot, which is a brilliant satire on high school, the firece competition to be popular and well-liked, and the faculty's inability to connect with their students. Pregnant with one-liners and armed with a Ginsu-sharp script, "Heathers" is a pitch-perfect comedy that's wickedly funny. The best performances definitely belong to Ryder and then-unknown Shannen Doherty. Those who rolled their eyes at the "happily-ever-after" sentiment of "Sixteen Candles" have bonded with this film over the years, turing it into a small scale classic. "Heathers" didn't exactly set the box office on fire upon release in 1989, but it's definitely grown in popularity since then. Give it a look, and you'll see why."
Five Stars for the Movie, One Star for Yet MORE Corporate Ex
Lola Miller | 05/04/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The ONLY new feature in this edition is a documentary called "Return to Westerberg High". EVERYTHING ELSE is the SAME, despite this being a 2 disc, 20 year reunion edition. Check out The Digital Bits & see for yourself lest the corporate cheerleaders dare to call me a liar.
If you don't already have this movie, get this release. Otherwise, don't sweat the upgrade & stop encouraging studios w/double dipping. What next, the 30 year edition?? 45 years?? 60 years? Why don't these studios try releasing films & TV shows that AREN'T on DVD like Angus or finish what they started?"
DARK AND OFTEN BIZARRE, BUT DAZZLING IN EVERY WAY
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 06/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a superbly crafted black comedy with an insider's view of highschool powerplays, teenage angst, clueless parents, twerpy faculty, etc etc. Could have easily gone down the beaten path and become one of the countless teen movies, but this is undoubtedly an under-rated gem!As some reviewers lament, be prepared for parts that are dark and disturbing, but the film is also hilarious for the most part, and whatever your emotional reaction, the dialogue is never off-target. In fact the film's script and visual style are so clever that laughing at murder does not seem much of a guilty pleasure.For all the talk of suicide, the underlying theme couches a universal and heartening meaning: that all people are created equal, the "in crowd" as well as the nerds.You need your sense of humor in the right place, and if you've got it there, this movie comes highly recommended from me!"
Great Boxed Set - 20th High School Reunion Edition
turtlex | PA USA | 12/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Likely you've already seen this excellent film starring Christian Slater and Winona Ryder. It's a contemporary cult classic and for good reason.
Therefore, I'll give you some info on this limited edition release :
This limited edition comes from Anchor Bay Entertainment and is packaged as a blue metal locker. Inside the locker is a bunch of very cool stuff. First, a cool t-shirt. There are three possible shirts which you might get, but you only get one. Secondly, there are a set of magnets which can be used to decorate the locker. Not outstanding, but kind of neat, none the less. You also get a year-book, featuring info and photos from the film.
What is not made clear though - is that you get your standard wide screen DVD version, you also get a BLU-RAY version of the movie. Look closely at the picture of the back of the packaging. See that there are three discs displayed? One is a Blu-Ray. Yipee!
Oh, and each locker is a numbered limited edition.
Exact Description of Contents : The Limited Edition Locker Set contains: a numbered locker, a 20-page hardcover Heathers yearbook, an 'awesome' T-shirt, 14 locker/fridge magnets, a collectable Westerburg algebra book, the BluRay Disc and two DVDs. Those DVDs will present the film in an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and contain the features highlighted above in addition to an original ending screenplay excerpt accessible from DVD-ROM.
This is a great collectible, well worth the price."