Scream Factory broadens its horizons a bit by releasing the Blu-ray debut of the Oscar-winning dark comedy “Death Becomes Her” in a Collector’s Edition. Although it definitely fits into the supernatural realm, many would argue Robert Zemeckis’s 1992 hit is a little tame to be released under Shout Factory’s horror umbrella. Either way, it merits the extra special care it gets from the company. A star-studded cast headed up by Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, and Meryl Streep all give elegantly wicked performances based on a story by Martin Donovan (“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”) and David Koepp (“Jurassic Park,” “Panic Room”).
In “Death Becomes Her,” two narcissistic arch rivals (Mery Streep and Goldie Hawn) discover the ultimate accessory – a potion that will keep them forever young – when they meet a mysterious enchantress (Isabella Rossellini) with deep ties to the Hollywood elite. But they get more than they bargained for when their newfound beauty only intensifies their vanity and rivalry.
Bruce Willis is absolutely perfect playing against his typecast at a time when he was known as a raging action hero ready to take out anyone who crosses him or his family. Here he's a whimpering mess being led around by two women who take advantage of and mentally and verbally abuse him. Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep are delightfully wicked as the two self-centered women who seek eternal life and servitude from Willis's character.
Director Robert Zemeckis captures the black comedy of "Death Becomes Her" and blends it with a shot of social commentary to give it more depth. Cinematographer Dean Cundey pulls us into the movie through his use of modern Gothic settings and wonderfully moody lighting. All his hard work truly gives the movie a noir feeling that somehow still works even in color.
If you look at the special visual effects through your 2016 glasses they appear dated. However, I remember seeing this movie when it came out 24 years ago and being visually dumbfounded by it. Industrial, Light, and Magic did an incredible job once again pushing the boundaries of their craft to a whole new level with “Death Becomes Her.”
The Collector’s Edition of “Death Becomes Her” comes filled with the bonus material we’ve come to expect from Scream Factory releases. A new featurette entitled “The Making of ‘Death Becomes Her’” has interviews with Director Robert Zemeckis, Writer David Koepp, Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Production Designer Rick Carter, and Special Effects Artists Lance Anderson and David Anderson. We also get a vintage “Making of” featurette, a photo gallery, and a theatrical trailer.
The movie is rated PG-13 for some nudity and off-color humor. The only nudity is a shot of Isabella Rossellini’s body double from the back showing her rear. There are quite a few cleavage shots here and there as well. “Death Becomes Her” also has profanity, alcohol drinking, and comic violence.
"Death Becomes Her" is one of those films that stands the test of time when it comes to its dark humor and cautionary narrative. Sure, the primitive special visual effects stick out like a sore thumb at times when looking at it now. It's still a really enjoyable and entertaining film that explores the trappings of vanity, the dangers of chasing youth, and being afraid of growing old.
"Death Becomes Her" Collector's Edition is available now on Blu-ray.