Death Becomes Her

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"Ernest! You pushed me down the stairs "

Sept 30th, 2010

The other night I was at a loss for things to do so I sat surfing the channels and noticed a movie I haven't watched for years. 'Death Becomes Her' was playing on Sky Comedy and as I became drawn in I released that while funny this movie was on the wrong channel. This is pure morbid horror disguised as a lighthearted PG romp.

Everyone wants to remain youthful and much of the horror universe is centered on this premise. The Vampire, Dorian Gray (Ugh that name makes me shudder, see my review of the 2009 film to know why) and now the characters from this flick. Two long time rivals discover the secret of eternal youth and will stop at nothing to claim one man.

The story is great. We all know that most women are bitches (Editor's note – dont flame us! Jigsaw speaks for himself) but this takes it to the next level. The stories and emotions on display here are dark – starting with one woman stealing the other's man, to emotional breakdown to fulfilling the ultimate revenge (in finding the other woman's obsession and achieving her goals). All of this spirals out of control however once a supernatural element is introduced. A magical potion is the catalyst for carnage as both women realize they cannot die and stop at nothing to destroy the other no matter how futile their attempts may be.

Back in the 90's special effects films were kicking off (The Abyss, Terminator 2, and Men in Black). This was a time where the CGI wasn't overused, it was to enhance the practical effects and one of the reasons I believe it remains outstanding today holding its own against modern effects laden extravaganzas. Broken necks and shotgun wounds litter this piece even with a lack of blood they look realistic leaving truly cringe worthy moments, there is no way today this would scrape by with such a low certificate. Eventually things reach comical extremes but there is still a dark heart at the centre.

I have always been a big fan of Goldie Hawn – any movie she's in I watch no matter how uninterested I am in the subject matter, First Wives Club was hardly common ground for me. As I finished watching the movie, however impressed I was in Goldie's performance I became a lifelong fan of Meryl Streep, she owned this. Along with an unrecognizable turn from Bruce Willis in looks and acting ability, the cast is truly stellar.

The film lacks a villain yet its hard to root for any of the characters as all of them are deeply flawed. Streep's character is a heartless bitch but unlike her counter points she never plots to kill. Hawn changes from meek and timid to femme fatale making her actions a bit too questionable no matter how much abuse she has suffered over the years. Willis' character (Ernest) at one point appears to be the hero but it's a bit too hard to forget his cheating ways and hand in planning to commit murder.

The women in this movie are gorgeous and yes there is nudity, truly amazing, I'm sure someone was sleeping with the entire board at the BBFC to get this rating.

I love this movie as much today as I did the first time I viewed it. Robert Zemeckis can do no wrong, wait scratch that he did make Contact but were all allowed one stumble right. This movie is quite sinister and on contemplation leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth, just the way I like it. If you haven't seen this please do, if you haven't seen it in a while go watch it again you'll be pleasantly surprised how well it's held up. 9/10

Best Kill
There are no kills but the violence is awesome

Won an Academy Award for best special effects
Catherine Bell was the nude body double
Meryl Streep actually scared Goldie Hawn during one of the fight scenes

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Martin Donovan, David Koepp
Rating: PG
Release: 1992
Starring: Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis

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