After watching Assassination Nation last week I have had the desire to watch Heathers. The film is a dark teen comedy about trying to fit in with the in-crowd. At Westerburg High School in Sherwood, Ohio Veronica (Winona Ryder) desperately wants to be a part of the cool crowd. She wants to be a part of the Heathers. This is a group of girls that consist of three girls who are all named Heather. There is Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty), Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk), and Heather Chandler (Kim Walker).
The only problem is once Veronica gains access she realizes she cannot stand any of them! She wishes them ill, but would never do anything to cause of the young women any harm. However, upon dating J.D. (Christian Slater) she finds herself sliding down a slippery slope. Veronica becomes entangled in the murders of her enemies. There murders are covered up because the whole town feels they have committed suicide.
Comparatively, the film Jawbreaker (1999) attempts to rip off this plot line. Mean Girls (2004) also attempts to take the basic plot line of destroying the popular group from the inside, but not quite to the extreme Heathers does. Every now and then, Heathers was a film I would hear about in other films or on a television series and my curiosity would be peeked. One day while walking up and down an aisle of a video store I discovered the film sitting right there before me. Finally giving in and renting the film is one of the best decisions I made at Blockbuster.
The film is funny when it should not be despite the fact the film is about teens murdering other teens. Ryder is pure genius and the perfect example of a person who has made friends with the wrong person. Unlike J.D., Veronica does in fact have a conscious. She does not want any of these girls to die. Each time a member of the student body is murdered, she suggests her disdain and disgust of the events taking place before her.
Slater’s portrayal of J.D. is one of the best performances of his entire career. J.D. has no remorse and plenty of plans to take down the establishment and the hierarchy of high school. Granted, Veronica is not innocent by any means. She partake in J.D.’s plan at first. She can only be defended because she did not believe he would follow through on his ideas.
While Jawbreaker and Mean Girls are unique spins on this eighties classic, Heathers is by far the superior film and a joy to watch. I feel the need to say this could be my bias toward dark humor films in general, but view all three films and make your own decision. Others will argue that some of these movies have done a better job at portraying teenage angst and despair when a person desires to change one’s life. In a way, I suppose one could argue that they do so in a more positive regard.
After all, in Jawbreaker the guilty party is caught and in Mean Girls the teens realize there is hope to the hell some people consider high school. Even in a film that handles a serious subject in a satirical way, Heathers does stop the chaos. Regardless to the darker road sprinkled with laughs, I felt a sense of hope in the end. Sometimes that is all we need to remember in life. When life seems to dire to go on, there is always a reason to remain hopeful.