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B-List Delights: Not so heavenly Heathers

Heathers (1989), written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehman, is considered a classic by some, while unknown to others. It isn’t entirely the slasher film that is showcased in B-List, nor is it quite the indie film, but it does bring a comedic hint to the dark, crime fiction genre. Starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, Heathers reveals the concealed world of teen peer pressure, bullies, and a horrifying teenage mind.

The most popular clique at Westerberg High School contains the three Heathers and Veronica. The three Heathers believe they are able to do what they want simply for a laugh, not taking others’ feelings into consideration. The most compassionate of the four friends, Veronica, played by Winona Ryder, finds their actions distasteful and rude. Enter Jason Dean, played by Christian Slater, the mysterious new boy at school who catches Veronica’s attention. Veronica questions her friends’ cruel actions and like a devil on her shoulder, Jason convinces her to mess with Heather the First. At first Jason seems to be joking about killing Heather, yet it comes true quite quickly. Towards the middle of the movie, it starts to truly show Jason’s psychotic thoughts and ambitions towards people he deems as bullies. Somehow he wraps Veronica into the whole mess, lying to her so she will kill people with him. Jason frames the killings as suicides and the cops have no idea that it is really him.

Winona Ryder (left) and Christian Slater (right) Photo Credit:

Winona Ryder is well known for her current role in Stranger Things (2016) as Joyce Byers, but one of her most famous movie roles comes from Edward Scissorhands (1990), where she played Kim. Ryder also starred in Beetlejuice (1988) as Lydia, becoming friends with ghosts in her new house. Christian Slater stars in Mr. Robot (2015), which is what he’s most popularly known for. The casting directors of Heathers, Julie Selzer and Sally Dennison, did a wonderful job to fulfill the ideas of Waters. Slater has the loner, bad boy vibe to him right from the start by showcasing his motorcycle and his witty humor. Ryder stands out from the Heathers with her opinionated thoughts and independence.

Francis Kenny did a brilliant job with the cinematography, except there was one problem that bugged me a little. Within certain shots, Veronica would have bangs then cut to the next scene, they weren’t there. In my eyes, that was the only problem within the filming. The level of gore was overall low, except for the few shots where characters were killed.

Heathers speaks in underlying messages about heavy topics such as suicide. They continuously hint that people are unaware of the true issue of suicide in high school. The teens are so busy worrying about their ‘popular’ peers that are mysteriously dying, they are oblivious to the true pain that others are dealing with.

Heathers is a dark satire that tackles problems of high school, the main one being popularity. I believe that it is a five out of five skulls simply for the point of view on high school that is more raw than others, bringing up topics that some might not. Heathers has some of the cheesy 80s gore added in and hints of larger issues buried within. It’s the type of movie that you can enjoy alone or with friends, but it definitely in my top five.


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