||HEAVENLY CREATURES represented a departure of sorts for horror director Peter Jackson and was the first film to earn him widespread critical acclaim. Jackson both co-wrote and co-produced the picture, which is based on an actual 1954 murder case. The two protagonists, New Zealand schoolgirls Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, first meet when Juliet (Kate Winslet in her silver-screen debut) is introduced to Pauline's class as a new student. Pauline (Melanie Lynskey), an introvert who feels misunderstood by her family and peers, is instantly smitten with the sophisticated and self-confident newcomer, and the girls become best friends.^Eventually, Pauline and Juliet begin spending more and more time together, withdrawing into a magical land of their own invention--Borovnia, a fairy-tale kingdom populated by lifesize clay figures. The girls' distraught families fear that the friendship is becoming unhealthy, and Juliet's parents decide to end things by sending their daughter away. Faced with their impending separation, the girls decide nothing will tear them apart, leading to an unexpectedly grisly denouement made even more unnerving by the ignorance of their own delusion. A harrowing story of misdirected adolescent creativity, Jackson's HEAVENLY CREATURES is chillingly unforgettable.