Heathers ( ,Michael Lehmann,1988) What messages does it give?

This film was recommended to me by my mum, she through it was my kind of film because the popular bullies get murdered by  their best friend Veronica Sawyer played by the incredibly talented Winona Ryder and her psychotic boyfriend Jason “J.D.” Dean (Christian Slater). As someone who was a victim of bullying I thought that it must be a great movie.  I mean I was right but the film was not what I expected. The people I expected to die didn’t and those who I thought were safe were murdered, however this did add to the narrative and give the piece a few plot twists. The only issue was the fact that no one thought that there was a murderer, rather teen suicide.  My concern with this is does it give the audience ideas on how to get away with murder? In addition, the main thrill of slasher cult comedies is watching them get caught or at least watching people fight back. Instead of being given a cup of drain cleaner to “cure their hangover”. I’m not saying that these people don’t deserve what happened to them but could they be a little more creative.

Heathers is also a great example of a moral panic production as it seems to focus around the glorification of teen suicide. Even though many banners are put up warning people against the act, the film indicates that if those who are important kill themselves then they will be glorified and have their life celebrated. On the other hand, this film isn’t wrong in saying so , for example when a celebrity commits suicide, they are given awards for their work towards their chosen industry and many celebrate their incredible life and mourn a great loss , whilst forgetting that this was an act that they chose to carry out.

In addition to this, it is clear that those who were killed suffered no mental illness or trouble at home of school, they had no reason for the act (in my opinion). However, the character Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock (Carrie Lynn) does suffer from depression and is severely bullied throughout her High school years. Therefore, when she attempts to follow the crowd and end it all, the result is different from those of her peers. Despite that fact that she fails at her attempt, she is bullied even more! This then raises the question; why do people’s reaction on teen suicide differ; depending on the popularity of the victim? If so, it shows the messed up society we live in.

Heathers movie poster

Heathers movie poster

The film is also able to indicate that once the powerful has fallen , someone will always take there place.

Our teen villain Jason Dean is also able to get the entire school to sign a mass suicide note, by persuading them that what they are signing is in fact a series of petitions to change the school for the better, for example a Hot Tub and more time for lunch. Once the note was signed by all, he attempt to blow up the school. However, fails and ends up again killing himself to convey a message. This again reinforces the hidden meaning behind this film, rather than a killing spree between two lovers.

However, despite the moral panic and main message of the film, the cult classic dark humoured production is still enjoyable and gives you the ability to purge your anger on these characters by seeing the teen bully’s get what they deserve…. Well it may be a bit extreme BUT it is a film after all.

How have you not seen this?

deathbyapril-April Ely


Shaun Of the Dead (Edgar Wright,2004)

A quick review.

Shaun of the dead was the first horror film I ever watch and is the main reason I am obsessed with the genre. Therefore, this film has a special place in my heart.  For me this film is the perfect representation of visual comedy, thanks to the creative mind of Edgar Wright, who also directed films like Hot Fuzz (2007) and The Worlds End (2013) both starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  Edgar wright has the ability to make the audience laugh out loud, not from only the lines of the characters but through what is shown on screen.

Usually within comedy’s, particularly in disaster movies, one way to foreshadow a horrific event and provide a background to the audience, is to have the events shown on the news whilst the main characters watch or completely ignore, An example shown within This is the End (Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, 2013). However, if you wanted to use a technique to both provide information and create a laugh from the audience, you can use visual comedy.  This is shown when Shaun flicks through the channels, oblivious to the message that the audience is able to understand. Within this scene you can see Shaun flip between channels piecing together a message through very individual clips. For example the football, states “serious attacks” followed by the news “on people who are literally being” followed by a wildlife documentary “eaten alive”.

For me this is an incredibly unique way of communicating to the audience, whilst giving a comedic value.  This scene is also able to show the ignorance of our beloved Shaun (Simon Pegg), again shown when he manages to walk through the middle of a zombie infested street and buy a Cornetto….can anyone really be that hangover? Or just that blind?

Other examples of visual comedy within the film include, objects appearing and disappearing on screen, shown when Liz is on the phone to Shaun. Another example can be Actions in sync with the music, shown when the pub owner is being beaten whilst Queen is playing. As well as, dramatic lighting cues, shown when light reflects of the knife, when Shaun is cutting bread. However, the best part for me is when characters that are extremely similar to each other pass in a simple two shot mid shot.  Therefore, if you want to learn a thing or two about visual comedy, you should really watch a few more of Edgar Wright movies!


This movie is also fantastic at foreshadowing and subtle repetition, used to make you think “he said that earlier!” “I knew he was going to say that!” “You’ve got red on you”. An example of this is “next time I see him he’s dead” and the incredible scene of THE PLAN.

Making this film a continuous engaging art piece and is the reason that this is 100% my favourite movie of all time and will always be a classic British film.

Despite the constant use of creative modes of film making, the feature presents the idea that we are in fact zombies! By that I mean we are subjected to repetition in our everyday lives and not the fact that we all go around eating people. As during the beginning of the film everyone seems to be copying each other and all looking rather dead and exhausted but would you on a Monday morning? I mean I look like that most days. :/

Even though Edgar and all the cast and crew themselves are original, so are the weapons involved. Who would have though a record would make a good weapon in a zombie apocalypse, the toaster however, was not so effective.

shaun of the dead

On the other hand, despite this film being a horror comedy, it is also a love story aww … with zombies, what more could you ask for? It’s the perfect genre mashup.  Yes, our characters Shaun and Liz (Kate Ashfield) are going through a rough brake up; they go to Winchester pub every day and hang out with the same old people, Liz has never even met Shaun’s mum (Penelope Wilton). It was never going to work out .BUT add zombies to the equation, this might actually be an opportunity to sort their lives out.  However, despite this romance, we are not allowed to ignore the bromance of Ed (Nick Frost) and Shaun, it really is something else!

To sum up, this is basically a film for the history books and should be adored by all!

How have you not seen this!

Deathbyapril – April Ely.

The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard,2012)

A quick review.

What goes into making a horror film, well if you wanted to stick to conventions you would include an all attractive teenage cast , playing our stereotypical characters, such as; the jock, the whore, the brains, the fool and the virgin.  We know this to be true but in our original horror film (it really is original) the film actually points this out to the characters within the narrative.  Other Clichés include the bridge getting destroyed, warnings from strangers and our basement with creepy and cursed objects.  The only thing is , these were put their on purpose, it was intended for them to go in the basement and “read from the book” , the stranger to warn them was an actor and the bridge was rigged with explosives, our monster was even put there ! The change of personality of the characters was caused by hormones, along with the actions and thoughts of our stereotypical adults playing teenagers.


But who would do such a thing, kill the innocent? The government and Sigourney Weaver. I’m not just saying it …. The government would kill the innocent BUT it is not all in vain because in order to keep a bunch of sadistic Gods from rising and destroying the planet, we must make a human sacrifice, yep, pretty old idea.  The only issue is the sacrifice must be voluntary in a sense.  Therefore, when our characters where introduced to the old trinkets in the basement, they chose what monster would arise….from an elevator in the ground (Yeah I don’t know either).

For me the best part about this film is the fact that the creature that can emerge can be anything, highlighted in the beginning of the film when the government is making bets, calling for some very funny but twisted scenes.  The monsters include the usual; these can include zombies (normal or a zombie redneck torcher family), ghost, serial killers, clowns and werewolves.  However, the film does introduce some rather strange monsters, such as; witches, these are completely different from sexy witches, mermaids, the sugar plum fairy, unicorns, giant bats and my personal favourite a scorpion saw.

Luckily for us, all hell breaks loose, during the end of the movie  all of these monsters are released.  I cannot stress to you how amazing these scenes are. We get to see all these monsters running around and killing everyone in the most unique ways. I mean, how does a mermaid kill you?  Just to reinforce how great this scene is, I have put a link below. SPOILERS!

Therefore, this is the film to watch in order to learn about the horror genre, as it is one big piss take on every horror film ever made.

This comedy horror makes for a truly entertaining and original film, creating a unique spin on the genre. Therefore, I would like to ask; what monster would you want to chase after you? Personally I would have the unicorn.

This film came out in 2012, how have you not seen this?

Deathbyapril – April Ely.

Poltergeist | official trailer US (2015) Sam Raimi

All right goes to moviemaniacsDE.

If you are a big fan of the horror genre, then you should be aware of the new Poltergeist remake, If not I have attached a link.

From the trailer, you can tell that they have stuck to the original plot but added a few extras, in order to keep the film fresh and exciting for fans of the original. With the recent advancement in technology, the new special effects should add to the 2015 versions horror.

Doesn’t the new clown look terrifying?! I must go see this!

How have you not seen this?


April Ely.

Into the Woods (Rob Marshall,2014)

A quick review.

Everyone loves as Disney movie, even though they are aimed at kids, most people have seen them. I mean look at the hype over Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, 2013) no one seems to ever let it go. Therefore, it is clear that much like many other family movies, Disney films are a mass market. So, if you do go and watch Into the Woods, you would probably expect your typical Disney cliché BUT this is not the case…..

Imagine a world where everyone sang all the time! It would get very annoying very quickly. Meaning, unless you like films such as Le Misérables (Tom Hooper, 2012), then you would find this all singing all dancing spectacular a bit too much.  Especially since the films is hitting around the three hour mark.

If you have seen the advert you would think “this seems like such a good film, all the original Grim stories in one film”. I mean you would be right, we get to see little red riding hood, Cinderella and jack with his white cow and magic beans.  The only issue is, these stories are only referenced to and avoid the main event within each narrative. We never actually see Jack meet the Giant or Cinderella actually meet her prince charming and for me is the whole point so for a film to just miss this out, it seems such a waste.

into the woods

So what is the story?  Well, a Baker and his wife (James Cordern, Emily Blunt) are cursed by our wicked witch ( Meryl Streep) , to never be able to have children , so in order for them to brake the curse , they must collect a series of ingredients for a spell. These include famous fantasy object, this is where our beloved childhood bedtime stories come in, such as the slipper from Cinderella and hair as gold as corn.  This Calls for a very unique twist on these tales and makes for an interesting plot. However, when they sing the whole way through, it does have an impact on the entertainment factor, depending on your personal taste.

Once everything plays out and all is well in the land of Into the woods, I personally felt satisfied with the film; it was at a good length and was happy at the film ending there. Not the case, It was a false ending!! The film had about another hour to go, with a completely new story that practical made the previous narrative obsolete. WHAT WAS THE POINT? The film also seems to alter the ending of the Grim brother fairy tales, which I find rather insulting to tradition.

I must admit I am being rather harsh on the film, as it is enjoyable with a collection of some fantastic songs and has some a completely talented cast. Who knew James Corden could sing? But for me this film dragged and had a bit too much singing for my personal liking. However, if this is your kind of thing and are the kind of person who can sit through very long films, then I would encourage that you go see it.  I also feel that people need to see it, along with myself, due to the fact that I am a huge Disney lover, so when a new one comes along, no matter the content, I must watch it. I assume this would be the same for you?

Therefore, I ask you; how have you not seen this? Or sing to you; how have you not seen this?


April Ely.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky ,2012)

A quick review

No one wants to be alone, it is a fear that we had growing up and still have today. People are social animals. Therefore, when our main character Charlie (Logan Lerman) is left without friends, a family that cares and a very serious mental illness, we can’t help but feels sorry for and fall in love with him. BUT not all hope is lost, when this freshman plucks up the courage to talk to seniors Patrick (Ezra Miller) also called “nobody” and his step sister Sam (Emma Watson) he finds what all of us crave.


For me this film both starts and ends rather sad but to me this film makes a difference. It is one of those films that sticks with you and shares a very important message and explores some of the worst issues that any young person can face. This movie looks at both the best and the worst of life. From school, to love, to sexuality, to drugs, to death, to loneliness, to abuse and the importance of friends and family. This feature is truly brilliant in creating character development and forces the audience to think about whom they are and how they can be happy. As a result, this film is a masterpiece and should be watched by everyone. And remember people, the incredibly talented Emma Watson is in it, isn’t that reason enough?

However, be aware that there are some rather controversial parts. As it is hinted that two characters were sexually assaulted at a rather young age, but this just indicates that this still happens and puts across a very strong message.

I had my first kiss at 11…….. he was my dads boss.

This film will make you laugh and cry and shout “why did you just do that?”  “Just kiss her already” “Don’t you dare!”

Now I want you to think about how many films you have watched and how many have actually caused you to have a huge reaction. 10 maybe tops. In my opinion films should not just be a funny or dramatic script, a good director and a fairly talented cast, they should make us feel and fall in love with the characters, make us want to know what happens next. And it is those feelings that cause us to have cinema, we want to experience a narrative that makes us laugh, cry, think and love and for me this film shows all of that. Now granted this is not the best film in the world, but no film can ever be! Everyone opinion is different. For example, a five year old may think that Frozen is the best film in the world and in my brothers case; The Raid 2. BUT we are not all five or my brother. So I ask, what is the best film you have ever seen?

Also the film has a pretty cool name so you know it will be good!

If you have not yet watched this brilliant film; I ask you; how have you not seen this?


April Ely.