‘Bad Girls from Valley High’ is about as bad as it gets

[rating=1]Starring: Julie Benz, Monica Keena, Nicole Bilderback, Jonathan Brandis, Aaron Paul, Janet Leigh, Christopher Lloyd
Director(s): John T. Kretchmer
Writer(s): Screenplay by Robert Locash, Andrew Lane; Based upon the novel, “A Fate Totally Worse Than Death”, by Paul Fleischman

Cutthroat friends (l. to r.) Monica Keena, Julie Benz and Nicole Bilderback get deadly for the affections of the late Jonathan Brandis in 'Bad Girls from Valley High'
Cutthroat friends (l. to r.) Monica Keena, Julie Benz and Nicole Bilderback get deadly for the affections of the late Jonathan Brandis in ‘Bad Girls from Valley High’

Comedies are funny things, no pun intended. They can be funny and have you rolling in the aisles. Those are the ideal comedies, that cut through social and gender barriers and let the audience laugh and have a good time. Then there are those other comedies. Those comedies that try hard to be funny, but ultimately prove to be just plain stupid.

That’s the case for Bad Girls from Valley High.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching it, but I have a thing for watching bad movies. I love them. A good bad movie can be a joy to watch, and that’s what this film turns out to be. It’s so stupid, you gotta watch it until the end just to see how dumb it gets. And you may get a giggle every now and again.

With twisted elements of Heathers and CluelessBad Girls from Valley High follows Danielle (Julie Benz) and her two friends, Tiffany (Nicole Bilderback) and Brooke (Monica Keena), three popular high schoolers. Danielle plots deviously to win the attention of Drew (Jonathan Brandis), who recently suffered the loss of his girlfriend, who apparently committed suicide.

Of course, she didn’t really commit suicide, and this truth isn’t really a secret to the audience. Danielle and her friends killed her, then made it look like she had taken her own life. But when an exchange student from Romania come to school, strange things begin to happen, which makes the three believe that the murdered girl has returned — and is looking for revenge.

I think the most shocking part of this movie is the fact that Christopher Lloyd and Janet Leigh agreed to be in it. But I suppose actors have bills to pay, too.

If you’re a fan of bad movies, then you’ll probably get a kick out of this film. The only thing it’s lacking is a little gratuitous nudity, which is normally a staple in these kinds of flicks. And since the film already got the R rating, they probably should have gone ahead and thrown it in.

Now, there is a little bit of creepiness with Bad Girls from Valley High. This comes from the fact that two of the actors who appear in it are now dead — Janet Leigh and Jonathan Brandis. Leigh died just this past year, and Brandis tragically committed suicide back in 2003. Throughout the film, his character mourns for the girlfriend everyone believes killed herself. And Leigh is a near comatose woman in a senior citizen’s home.

This movie was made in 2000, when it was known as A Fate Totally Worse Than Death, which is the title of the book it is based upon. For some reason they decided to change the title for the DVD release. There were also rumors of some sort that the film had been destroyed, which some claim were started by Brandis. Either way, Bad Girls from Valley High these odd stories only serve to make the film seem strange.

As for the DVD itself, there really isn’t much. There are a few deleted scenes, but they don’t really add much and aren’t particularly interesting.

You may just have fun watching this movie, but ultimately you’ll wonder why you bothered. It doesn’t offer much, unless you’re a Brandis fan, since this proved to be one of his last films. But if you like bad movies like I do, perhaps you’ll get a kick out of this knee slapper.

Rated: R
Run Time: 1 hr., 24 mins.

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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