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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Heavenly Creatures (1994)


The main reason why I refuse to travel to New Zealand.

Heavenly Creatures is true story of two teenage girls (Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey) from New Zealand who form a very strong friendship that changes both of their lives as they live through their own imaginations. However, things start to get strange when their friendship turns into obsession, which soon leads into murder.

The most disturbing aspect of this whole film is that this is an actual true story and while that is effed up in it’s own right, the chicks are still alive and well today, roaming the streets of only God knows where. Then again, this is a Peter Jackson film which means it’s always going to be strange.

The one thing about this film that sets it apart from other films of this nature is the direction and vision from Jackson himself. This is a pretty straight-forward story but the way Jackson tells it through extreme close-ups, awkward camera angles, constant zooming in-and-out, and not many regular shots, gives this flick a real different feel that I haven’t really seen before in a film that’s about two teenagers who go bat-shit crazy.

However, my problem with this whole direction is that everything here is practically going just about a mile a minute and I just wanted this film to slow down a bit. I get what Jackson was trying to do here, he wanted us to see the world through these girls’ own eyes and imaginations but after awhile it felt like Jackson just wanted us to know that it’s him directing so of course we need gigantic clay figures running rampant killing people. The best scenes for me here were when Jackson kind of just let the tension flow and come on in itself without Jackson ever getting in the way of that but for some reason, he just tried a little too hard and got in the way of what was going on.

The film also opens up with these girls covered in blood from head-to-toe screaming about a murder so right off the bat, I knew exactly what was going to happen by the end and for the whole time, I was just sitting there waiting for it to happen. If they didn’t show us this scene right from the get-go, I think I would have been more into this film like I had wished because it was only till after the flick that I actually checked out the actual case itself.

Even though I still bitch about all of these problems with the film I still found myself totally involved with the very disturbing story that this flick is all about. Seeing two girls go from being friends, to obsessive lover types, to stone-cold killers is downright frightening and the fact that everything here is true is what kept me really disturbed. Every film always shows the bright side to friendship and finding your bestie, but you hardly ever see the dark side of that and what it can do to not just everyone around you, but also yourself. The last 10 to 20 minutes are probably some of the most tense and disturbing I’ve seen ever since ‘Bully’ and I have to say that is something worth recommending.

The performances given by the two girls here are awesome and I think elevated this film completley. Melanie Lynskey is great as Pauline Parker and gave me that very angsty but dangerous teen-vibe the whole time. I still cannot look at her the same and actually be able to call her hot seeing this film. Kate Winslet gives a break-through performance here as Juliet Hulme and steals the show giving this incredible energy that keeps the film entertaining every time she is on-screen. It’s crazy to see where these two really got their starts and it’s also even more great that they sort of made me feel something for their characters, even if they are totally effed up in the head.

Consensus: Peter Jackson has way too much style here for me to actually be involved with this story, but regardless, Heavenly Creatures is a flick that is very disturbing, well-acted, and makes you feel as if you are in these girls’ heads as they go from normal to completley insane.

7/10=Rental!!

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14 responses to “Heavenly Creatures (1994)

  1. greercn February 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

    In real life, Juliet grew up to be famous crime novelist Anne Perry. She lives in Scotland.

  2. Dave Enkosky February 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    For another interesting take on the same subject, you should check out the seventies film Don’t Deliver Us from Evil

  3. colincarman February 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Ha, nice opener. This movie will haunt your dreams. It’s unforgettable.

  4. yaykisspurr February 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    hehe. A great review. I think I’ll look it up. Cheers.

  5. Claire Packer February 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    You never want to go to New Zealand?! Oh Dan, I haven’t been but I’m saving up!

    Heavenly Creatures is on my rental list as I’m planning a Peter Jackson marathon. It hasn’t arrived yet, though. While I don’t normally go for this genre I want to see it for several reasons, especially because it was one of Winslet’s first roles.

  6. Chip February 29, 2012 at 2:23 am

    I like your opening sentence. I was going to mention about one of them becoming a murder mystery writer but greeren beat me to it. That situation just makes it ever weirder.

  7. Sati March 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Great review! I completely love this film and I consider Winslet’s work here to be the best performance of hers.

  8. vinnieh May 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Excellent review, you should check out my post on it if you get the chance man.

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