They stroll down the varsity hallway in gradual movement, excellent outfits, hair billowing within the draft. Nobody crosses them, as a result of crossing them would imply sure demise — or worse, demise of social standing. Everybody hates them. Everybody needs to be them.
The Heathers, The Plastics, you identify it: Every era has a film devoted to the attractive imply ladies of highschool. They’ve extra chunk than in cozy rom-coms or nostalgia-fueled coming-of-age movies, and sometimes, the ladies are out for blood, be it by means of social sabotage or literal homicide.
This subgenre has a wickedly enjoyable time with the conventions of teenage girlhood, particularly with regards to the design decisions. These films are united in iconic trend and particular visible palettes that play with the favored aesthetic conventions of their respective time durations. They bring about an edge and a hardness to parts typically related to diminutive girlhood, be it daring lipstick, pink mini skirts, or crimson scrunchies.
However much more central than the distinct visible motifs are the feminine relationships on the middle of those films. Essentially the most catastrophic and disarming relationships these ladies have are with one another, and these relationships are concurrently their saving grace and supreme downfall. And that thread stitches the extra over-the-top parts with grounded relatability — demon-possesed finest buddies who eat boys aren’t precisely frequent, however poisonous finest buddies who put others all the way down to climb over them are.
With its pastel-swathed costumes and conniving lead duo, Netflix’s Do Revenge is a worthy entry into the style. In honor of those black comedies that aren’t afraid to indicate the darkish aspect of highschool recognition, we’ve chosen some quintessential classics within the canon of ruthless teenage ladies.
The film that began all of it was truly a box-office bomb. However regardless of not even making again half its price range, Heathers grew to become a cult basic. Author Daniel Waters supposed the film to satirize how the media sensationalized teen suicides, and to be a darker counterpart to the usually saccharine depictions of highschool life within the Nineteen Eighties. (Hi there, John Hughes.) And whereas that will’ve been controversial — Winona Ryder’s agent begged her to not take the function — it sparked for audiences at residence.
Heathers follows Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), the fourth member of a ruthless mean-girl clique often called the Heathers (for the reason that different three are all named Heather). She’s a reluctant follower, as a result of she is aware of siding with the Heathers and serving to them forge corridor passes and excuse notes is healthier than being their goal. However she finds herself drawn to rebellious new scholar J.D. (Christian Slater), and after the chief of the Heathers activates Veronica, she and J.D. hatch a plan. What was alleged to be a innocent prank turns right into a homicide, and shortly Veronica finds herself masking up a string of our bodies and disguising them as suicides. J.D.’s plans develop extra sinister, the remaining two Heathers cope with a vacuum of energy, and Veronica tries to repair every little thing that’s gone unsuitable.
Whereas Heathers completely set the muse for one of these film, it’s additionally notable for being the only instance on our checklist that has a male character play a major function within the clique’s downfall. Nonetheless, the main focus comes again to Veronica, who claws her means out of the favored clique after which out of J.D.’s misanthropic influences, and ultimately extends a hand to her former good friend Martha and the extra sympathetic Heather.
Heathers is on the market to stream on Tubi and Prime Video.
The Craft (1996)
Technically, The Craft is a supernatural horror film, not a darkish comedy, and technically, it isn’t about common ladies, a lot as it’s about imply ladies (don’t fear — we’ll get to Imply Women in a bit). Nevertheless it’s value together with on this checklist due to how literal the “hell is a teenage lady” bit comes into play, and due to how a lot focus is on the interior dynamics of the good friend group in query. Additionally, it’s not notably scary.
The Craft follows a gaggle of teenage witches who unlock highly effective magic to be able to enact revenge on those that’ve wronged them and get what they need out of life. That magic ultimately causes their good friend group to fracture and splinter and eat itself alive. Like lots of the different examples on this checklist, it’s a gaggle of 4 ladies — three who already know one another, and a brand new interloper who disrupts the already established dynamics
As for the long-lasting and particular visible palette? It’s Catholic faculty uniforms, combined with some trad Goth parts. Since Heathers kicked off this style by positing a counterculture various to common Nineteen Eighties teen films, it’s good to have an entry that really embraced counterculture aesthetics.
The Craft is on the market to stream on Paramount Plus.
Jawbreaker is what would occur in Heathers if the opposite Heathers by accident killed their Queen Bee and tried to cowl it up. After a prank gone horribly unsuitable, the favored ladies of Reagan Excessive scramble to cover their involvement in Liz Purr’s demise. Rose McGowan performs cutthroat imply lady Courtney Shayne, a foul bitch who bribes dorky Fern (Judy Greer) into maintaining her mouth shut concerning the manslaughter by giving her an excessive makeover — even altering her identify to Vylette — and inducting her into the favored group. In the meantime, Julie (Rebecca Gayheart), probably the most sympathetic of the clique, falls out of favor with them.
With its vivid pops of Y2K coloration, Jawbreaker’s visible palette is daring and over-the-top, complementing the outlandish actions Courtney takes to be able to preserve her standing as the preferred lady within the faculty (and blame Liz’s demise on another person). In the meantime, Julie hatches a plan to reveal Courtney’s involvement to the entire faculty on promenade evening. (Massive faculty dances are one other recurring theme in these films — a queen’s gotta have her official plastic crown, in spite of everything.)
Jawbreaker is on the market to lease on Prime Video and YouTube.
Imply Women (2004)
Nobody dies in Imply Women — however that doesn’t make it any much less cutthroat. New lady Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) finds herself entangled with the preferred clique in class — The Plastics, dominated by Regina George (Rachel McAdams). Cady’s new good friend Janis (Lizzy Caplan) sees this as a chance to take Regina down as soon as and for all, they usually hatch a scheme for Cady to infiltrate the group and destroy Regina. However the extra time Cady spends with Regina, the extra she begins to show right into a certifiable imply lady of her personal.
Even with out a physique rely, Imply Women’ intricate revenge plot, concentrate on social standing, and cruel verbal insults (and in addition the very fact Regina will get hit by a bus), suits this checklist. And the filmmakers positively acknowledge the greats that got here earlier than, with nods just like the plaid ’80s skirt that Regina disses (a mode in vogue throughout the Heathers period) to the scene the place she crops photocopied pages of the Burn E book across the faculty’s empty hallways (an analogous scene performs out in Jawbreaker).
Imply Women is on the market to stream on Netflix.
Jennifer’s Physique (2009)
Many of those films flirted with sapphic subtext, be it Fern’s obsession with Liz Purr or Cady’s fixation on Regina George. However Jennifer’s Physique embraces the inherent homoeroticism of being infatuated with the preferred and delightful lady in class — or on this case, additionally having the most well liked lady be infatuated with you.
The studious Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and common Jennifer (Megan Fox) could not have a lot in frequent on the floor, however they’re the very best of buddies. One evening, after sneaking into an area dive bar, a skeevy indie band kidnaps Jennifer and makes use of her as a sacrifice for a demonic ritual — nevertheless it doesn’t fairly work, and Jennifer wakes up with a starvation for flesh.
As Jennifer goes round murdering and consuming boys, her energy grows — and the already poisonous friendship between her and Needy begins to disintegrate. There isn’t any central clique in Jennifer’s Physique, however the concentrate on Needy and Jennifer’s intense friendship is sufficient to maintain it. Needy is the one individual for whom Jennifer resists her urge to kill, but additionally the individual whose life she most needs to destroy.
Jennifer’s Physique is on the market to stream on Prime Video.