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Heathers

Review (Heathers 1989)

(Edit) 22/12/2020

Heathers is a black comedy set in in a late 80’s USA high school. If you have watched any high school based film anytime within the last 30 years, chances are you may have seen the same basic plot points played out. Geeky girl gives up geeky friends to fit in with the cool girls. The only problem is the cool girls are bitchy to the new girl and despite this, the geeky girl still wants to be part of the group. Films like Mean Girls and shows like Glee relish in this plot type,

At the films outset we are introduced to Veronica (played by Winona Ryder). Veronica has shunned a geeky childhood friend to join a trio of girls who are all called Heather. This Clique of girls think they are the top of the tree and do everything to create an elite social status within High School, This ranges from playing cruel pranks on the obligatory ugly kid through to forcing Veronica to go to frat parties in return for forced sexual favours (implied not seen). Veronica, being not at all too happy about this activity forms a friendship with gun-toting new boy J.D (Christian Slater). J.D is the typical new kid, who has moved from school to school, wears a long black coat and can’t seem to fit in. He has the bad boy personality that oozes trouble, yet the the lead character, in this case Veronica, can’t seem to get enough of him.

Throughout the film J.D turns up right at the moment that Veronica needs him the most. She soon discovers that J.D is a troubled kid who actually turns out to be a psychopath with a murderous agenda against anyone he doesn’t like. J.D grooms and coerces Veronica into helping him fulfil his murderous ambitions until the final climatic scene where somehow Veronica at last becomes aware of right and wrong.

What To Look Out For…

The Music:

David Newman scored the movie and made a conscious choice not to use a traditional orchestra and instead use the available electronic instruments of the time. The result is that at times the film sounds like it has a 1980’s video game playing in the background. Otherwise the score fits well, I am not so sure a fully orchestrated score would have had the same result and may have taken away from the movie. Interestingly the 30th anniversary Blu-ray has a True HD soundtrack, that sounds like it has had no work done to it. Leaving speech muffled at times and the score sounding it’s age. It could certainly do with a decent True HD restoration not just a transfer.

The Video:

I watched Heathers on the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray. It promised a restoration of the cult classic. Sadly the only thing that looked restored is the colour scheme, with vibrant reds popping on screen. The rest of the films video image is a bit of a mess. Some scenes have picture noise, some scenes look HD, some scenes look a bit blurry. Its as if nobody paid any attention when scanning the 35mm over to the Blu-ray format.

The Shoulder Pads:

The Heathers all wear power suits with shoulder pads higher than the Eiffel Tower. Teamed with blouses that look like shirts and neck brooches that look hideous by todays’ standards. Well at least the late 80’s style had moved on from shell suits by the time this movie came out, so I guess that’s a good thing!

Is It Any Good?

Heathers is now a cult hit with a loyal following (a quick search on Facebook throws up a large collection of fan groups) any notion of Heathers being a chick flick is removed after the first few minuities of the movie. Its black comedy is evident from the opening scenes. Heathers is not afraid to highlight a variety of themes during its 1 hour 43 run time – teenage sex, teenage angst at trying to fit in, mental health issues, death of parent and the gun culture of America. Although these are serious issues, it handles these topics this with tongue firmly in cheek in darkly comedic fashion. Its the type of movie that just could not be made these days. Well worth a watch,

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