Heathers: A Movie Review

*Contains Spoilers*


New World Pictures / Cinemarque Entertainment

Mia Jones, Staff Writer

For those of you who love the classic hit Mean Girls, Heathers is sure to capture your attention. Matching Mean Girls wit for wit, the movie also contains a dark and cynical underlying streak.

Taking place in 1980’s Sherwood, Ohio, this movie is about a girl named Veronica (Winona Ryder) who is tired of the social hierarchy at school that is ruled by her three friends, all of whom are named Heather. During lunch, Veronica meets the new transfer student, a social outcast by the name of Jason Dean, or J.D. (Christian Slater). The two immediately strike up a romance. One night while venting to J.D. about the horridness that is Heather I – the alpha Heather – after leaving the party the former and she attended, J.D. suggests poisoning her in the form of a hangover cure. Veronica is very against the idea, but accidentally takes the cup that J.D. poisoned and hands it to Heather I. Heather I drinks the concoction and consequentially dies from it. Although Veronica is upset she helps J.D. stage the murder as if it was a suicide. The murder of Heather I opens the window to J.D.’s psychopathic tendencies and hatred of the cruel and popular, the following murders of two jocks with help from Veronica once again and an attempt at blowing up the whole school.

Veronica, the anti-hero of the story and despite aiding in the killing of three classmates, ends up saving the school at the cost of J.D.’s life. While seeing the wrongness of her and J.D.’s actions, Veronica still rejects the traditional hierarchy of the school and instead at the end of the movie places herself at the head of it with the intentions of establishing a kinder ruling.

The acting was done incredibly well. Slater nailed his part as a psychopath. Ryder is spot on with her take of the typical angsty and cynical teen, someone you can connect with. The shallowness of the other characters accentuates the storyline, Veronica herself stating how through the murders she committed along with J.D. they had managed to give depth to the victims personalities.

Deeply satirical, Heathers exaggerates the difficulties that is teenage life in high school. It pokes fun at the dangers of new trends and the lengths many people will go to follow them. In its blunt and straight-forward style the movie addresses many teen issues such as eating disorders, peer pressure, and the biggest of all, teen suicide. Always a touchy subject, Heathers faces it head on, making it the subject of popularity in the movie when three well known and liked students commit the act. These issues occur regularly throughout the film and is disregarded repeatedly, concerning acts taking place in the background of the plot and leaving it up to you the choice of whether or not to ignore it. The movie attacks people’s lack of understanding and actions taken in response to the issues.

Such portrayals of these heavy issues however did not sit well with audiences at the time, the movie grossed only $1.1 million in theaters, yet since then Heathers has gained quite the fandom with the rating of 95% on rotten tomatoes.

I find the film quite enjoyable, one that makes you think deeply about teenage life and its darker problems. I warn though for the strong language and concepts used. For Broadway lovers, be it known that Heathers was recently adapted to a musical.