“Heathers” was released in 1989, so next year will be its 25th anniversary. It’s currently being remade into a TV series, the first episode of which will air March 7. I’m skeptical on the TV show. I have heard negative reviews, which doesn’t surprise me, because reboots are never as good as the original. Despite what will most likely be a lackluster TV reprisal, the movie itself is a cult classic.
The dark comedy, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, revolves around the character Veronica. She despises the popular girls clique, all named Heather, that she hangs out with, as they’re the stereotypical high school mean girl. When she encounters a new student, J.D., and ends up dating him, things go awry for Veronica. He ends up being a manipulative sociopath and drags her into accidentally murdering some members of the popular crowd that she’s so desperate to get away from.
Comedic yet dark, this movie is still as relevant today as it was when it was first released. It’s a satirical take on the cruelties of being young, but it also touches base on a lot of issues young people can relate to, including peer pressure, toxic friend groups and unhealthy relationships. It’s far more complex than most teen movies, especially for the time it was released in.
There’s also no character who is certainly heroic; rather, almost everyone is in this moral gray area that most people are really part of. The teens portrayed aren’t the image of teenaged stereotypes. Instead, there is a large variety of personalities and characteristics of what young people are really like. They swear, they make dumb decisions (some clearly worse than others) and have different perspectives because of their different lives and how they’re treated by their peers. While many parts of the film are strange and unsettling, it’s not that far of a stretch to see it as something that could potentially happen and could really be used as a serious commentary on society.
Although cynical, the film does somewhat have a happy ending, with Veronica trying to reach out to the bullied and uncool students and make up for the wrongdoing she was dragged into.
Ultimately, it’s the OG “Mean Girls,” even though it does feature murder and worse mistakes than what the average teen makes. I’d encourage anyone who likes ‘80s movies, cult hit films, comedies and coming-of-age stories to give this a watch sometime. It’s currently available to stream on Hulu.