Heavenly Creatures

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Peter Jackson

REVIEWED: 11-24-97

At the time of Fun's (limited) theatrical release in 1994, I thought it bizarre that a film so similar to Heavenly Creatures would make it to the big screen. Even more bizarre is that both of the films are among the top 10 or so releases of 1994. Two years later, Fun is finally making its appearance on home video, and you'll probably have a hell of a time finding a store that stocks it. But trust me, an evening with either of these films is well worth the trouble, although a double feature may be too traumatic for the squeamish. Both movies tell horrific stories about a pair of young girls who hatch plots to murder an older woman. Creatures was fact, based on an early 1950s affair wherein tormented teens Pauline (Lynskey) and Juliet (Winslet) decided to kill Pauline's mother for threatening to separate them. Jackson's use of surrealistic imagery is brilliantly incorporated into the film, as the girls' daydreams and fantasies take on a tangibility that is often indistinguishable from the real thing. Fun takes the opposite tack , almost hyperrealistic in its use of black & white Super 16mm film intercut with color 35mm to give it a neo-documentary style. And while Creatures is based on truth, Fun is pure fiction, and thank God for that. Witt plays Bonnie, the hyperkinetic Bad Seed who figures it'd be a kick to off a random old lady, just for "fun," as she puts it. And so she does, enlisting Hillary (Humphrey) in the process. The film's somber conclusion shows that "fun" can be anything but, and haunts the viewer for days. In an age where the dearth of quality roles for women is being bemoaned at every Oscar ceremony, here are four juicy ones to feast upon, none of them played by actresses over 20 years old. Sure, they're all murderesses - but like they say, when they're bad, they're very good.

--Christopher Null

Full Length Reviews
Heavenly Creatures

Capsule Reviews
Heavenly Creatures

Other Films by Peter Jackson
Dead Alive
Forgotten Silver
The Frighteners

Film Vault Suggested Links
Kiss or Kill
Caught Up

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