A teenage girl gets involved with a sociopath and together they
start murdering the mean, popular kids at their high school.
Directed by Michael Lehmann
Written by Daniel Waters
Starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty,
Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk, Penelope Milford, Glenn Shadix,
Lance Fenton, Patrick Labyorteaux, Carrie Lynn
Teenage suicide has always been a touchy subject, and that will never change, but I never would've thought it would also be ripe for satire. Heathers does so much with so little, successfully taking pot shots at the glorification of teen suicide and how bitchy demons become saintly angels when they die. Led by arguably the strongest performance of Winona Ryder's career, this film will forever dominate the pantheon of 80's teen black comedies because it dares to treat suicide with the cynicism it sometimes deserves. Popular rarely means nice in high school.
There are few characters in 80's films as unlikable as the Heathers. Three rich hateful queens of high school that Mean Girls would one day rip off with zero transparency. Their leader, Heather Chandler, is the queen bee who every teen in high school wants to either befriend or sleep with for reasons that escape me. The Heathers' "friend" is Veronica Sawyer (Ryder), who hates the Heathers but wants to be accepted by them. That all changes when she falls in love with mysterious loner J.D. (Christian Slater, in a memorable turn) who convinces her that the Heathers need to go in order for her to be happy. This starts a chain reaction that leads to countless murder/suicides and an attempted high school bombing. And you thought high school was hell before.
The best thing about Heathers is that it never takes itself too seriously, to the point where it stops being satire. It's clear that this is a joke, but one that's extremely dark. This film can resonate with any generation who had to deal with the high school popularity food chain and wanted to do something about their position in it. Heathers is one of the most brilliant satirical black comedies of all time and it rightfully deserves its place as a cult classic.