Directed by Michael Lehman
Written by Daniel Waters
Starring Wynona Ryder, Kim Walker, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
“Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count.”
Wynona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer
I remember when Heathers came out in 1989. I saw it in the theater with only a few other attendees. God, I loved this film and its dark little heart. Heathers: 20th High School Reunion Edition was recently released on DVD by Anchor Bay.
Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) has recently transferred to Westerberg High School. The school is ruled by the “Heathers”: Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk) and Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty). They rule over the less popular denizens with all the finesse and sensitivity as Castro or Kim Jong-Il. The students shake at the presence of the “Heathers” and the girls know it and enjoy it.
Veronica is somehow taken under the wing of Heather Chandler, despite the fact she has a heart, a mind of her own and the wrong moniker. She quickly grows to hate the emotional wreckage the “Heathers” can create, but cannot seem to muster the guts to free herself from the clutches of evil.
Until J.D. (Christian Slater) arrives at Westerberg High. He is an outsider with an undeniable James Dean aura of cool around him. But, J.D. is more than just a loveable misfit. Within his chest beats the heart of a cold blooded killer. And it isn’t long before Heather Chandler falls victim to the teen angst of the two teen lovers.
The murder of the popular girl sets of a rash of publicity. While this makes Veronica understandably nervous, it only seems to fuel the murderous intent of the young J. D. How many bodies will it take before J.D. is satisfied or Veronica is able to stop him? J.D. loves the smell of blood, but Veronica has maintained a conscience, even in the dog eat dog and kill or be killed world of Westerberg.
Heathers is a whip smart and snarky masterpiece. Instead of falling victim to the clichés of other teenage comedies, every frame of this film is filled with intelligence, cynicism and beautiful irony. It is a thoroughly entertaining black comedy that never pulls any punches and stays wonderfully wry and macabre to the end.
What ever happened to the Winona Ryder that is in this film? For that matter, what happened to circa 1989 Christian Slater? They were wonderful, quirky and vibrant in their performances in this film. Now, they are reduced to films like Hollow Man 2 and Mr. Deeds.
I know that this film is compared to Juno, Mean Girls and Jawbreaker on the cover. Those comparisons certainly don’t do this film justice. While I thought Juno was the cat’s pajamas, this film was more than the prototype for those films. This film is absolute couture; it is one of a kind. Heathers: 20th High School Reunion Edition belongs on your shelf this instant.
Heathers: 20th High School Reunion Edition is presented anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is nice, if for a bit of an overall soft look, especially the black levels.
Heathers: 20th High School Reunion Edition is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The dialogue is clear and easily understood. There are also subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Heathers: 20th High School Reunion Edition is presented in standard amaray case with Veronica and J.D. looking snazzy on the cover.
There are some nice bonus features included in this release. A feature length commentary with writer Daniel Waters, Producer Denise DiNovi and director Michael Lehmann is offered. It is an enjoyable listen. It is surprising to learn that Jennifer Connolly and Heather Graham were both considered for parts.
Swatch Dogs and Diet Cokeheads is a featurette that gathers cast and crew together for a look back on this seminal film.
Original Ending Screenplay Excerpt is self explanatory. Return to Westerburg High is a featurette that brings Waters, Di Novi and Lehman back again to reminisce again about the film. If you have the previous DVD release of this film, this is fairly redundant.
Overall, a nice selection of bonus features for this release.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 8.5/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10