Madeleine and Helen (Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn) will stop at nothing to stay looking young, so when they reach the limits of plastic surgery they’re tempted to drink an elixir of life which will stop them from ageing. But when their violent feud turns them into reanimated corpses they realise that immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
This campy cult classic is as rib tickling as it is rib breaking thanks largely to Streep and Hawn’s performances during their increasingly gory conflict. They’re Mad and Hel and they’re not going to take it any more. Streep in particular gives an incredible physical performance and does a fantastic imitation of a reanimated corpse. So good, in fact, that she could be cast as Kelyanne Conway.
But it also benefits from some brilliant supporting performances, particularly Ian Ogilvy as gurning spa owner Chagall and Isabella Rossellini as the mysterious Lisle von Rhoman. And even Bruce Willis is good as the man the two women fight over for no obvious reason.
Made in 1993, the gory special effects still look fantastic demonstrating Robert Zemeckis’s deft hand with prosthetics, puppets and blue screens. Yet the makeup looks like that RuPaul’s Drag Race mini-challenge where they have to apply cosmetics in the dark. Willis has a weirdly grey chin, Hawn has lipstick on her teeth and some of the ageing/de-ageing effects are on a par with The Godfather III.
It’s also a peculiarly plotted film, with its famous ultraviolence taking up a fairly small amount of the running time. But it has a decent message and everyone involved is clearly having fun, making it enjoyable for all eternity.