Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) Will Have You, As the Youth Might Say, Screaming, Crying, & Throwing Up
Title: Bodies Bodies Bodies
First Non-Festival Release: August 5, 2022 (Limited Theatrical Release)
Director: Halina Reijn
Writer: Sarah DeLappe, Kristen Roupenian
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Bee (Maria Bakalova) is nervous to meet her girlfriend Sophie’s (Amandla Stenberg) friend group at a hurricane lock-in party. Once there, it’s evident that the group is stitched together by strained relationships and their shared loved of party drugs. Once the storm kicks up and the group is sheltered inside, their antics get more structured with a rousing game of Bodies Bodies Bodies, a party game where one of the group is chosen as the killer with the goal of killing their friends off through the night. The others must determine who is behind their deaths in order to win the game. When the first body hits the floor, it is revealed that someone might have taken the game too seriously.
A scathing crowd-pleaser with delightfully dark comedy, Bodies Bodies Bodies is the Gen Z anti-slasher of the year.
At its core, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a character driven horror comedy that puts generation Z on the chopping block while holding up a mirror to showcase their worst fears. The breakdown of social graces through a series of misadventures, lets the filmmakers explore the current culture of fake friendships and social media obsession. This manifests in the anxiety that comes from performing friendship, activism, and worldliness is stripped to pieces when reputations are on the line. As patience wears thin, true feelings bubble up with the understanding that anyone could be a suspect, and now is as good a time as ever to admit you hate your friend’s podcast.
By the time Bee and Sophie surprise the group at the pool, the group is already reeling from friend drama that has pushed one to leave altogether. No one seems interested in talking about it until it becomes a potential motivation for murder. These remaining friendships dissolve through the night as they stab each other’s backs and use the language of social justice to shield themselves from criticism or suspicion. The innate desire for self-preservation, not only physically but socially, is apparent from the constant back and forth.
These people suck. They lie to each other, manipulate one another, and refuse to come to their friend’s defenses even when they know that others are reaching. It’s beautifully reminiscent of how social media encourages people to shout their worst misconceptions into the void and leaves their victims to suffer the consequences. And truly this is the meat of Bodies Bodies Bodies. More than just a murder mystery, it is a deconstruction of performative activism, image reparation, influencer culture, and the transactional nature of modern friendships.
The focus on social media within friendships propel this idea further. At the very beginning of the film, two characters share an intimate kiss only to spend time in their car glued to their phones. What’s worse is that their reliance on technology for maintaining relationships consistently causes their downfall in various ways. TikTok dances and text exchanges are now put under a microscope and become good excuses for murder accusations.
While her character isn’t the focal point of the film, Rachel Sennott is the star here. Her portrayal of Alice as a free-wheeling and easily manipulated hot mess who simultaneously acts as the social adhesive of the fractured parts of their friend group is equal parts compelling and riotously entertaining. The rest of the cast do stellar jobs balancing the snarky comedy underneath the caustic one liners with the contagious panic that besets them over the course of the night.
Coming alive during the hurricane, the mansion becomes a character itself as well. The expansive set and devotion to bright colors help paint a picture of luxury and vanity within the secluded mansion. Nothing quite sells a message about fakeness more than the confines of a luxurious mansion with many a pretentious decoration. As the crew splits up and runs around with abandon, the viewers are taken on a journey of excess discovering just how many things exorbitantly rich people can afford to have in their homes. Between multiple staircases, expansive doggy doors, and antique swords, Bodies Bodies Bodies ensures that the excess is on full display in order to cut to pieces.
Wickedly funny and deliciously intriguing, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a wonderful addition to A24’s list of hit horror films. An excellent cast and incisive writing helps this murder mystery become one of the most memorable film experiences of the year. Geared towards the nihilistic Gen Z, Bodies Bodies Bodies refuses to hold back in its scathing critique of current social mores while refusing to offer any solace. It’s bound to make you laugh and think well before it scares you, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the film. Bodies Bodies Bodies is one film you won’t want to skip while the party is still in theaters.
Overall Score? 7.5/10