Meeting new people is hard. No matter who it is, or where it’s at- you don’t know what to expect, the stakes feel high. Halina Reijn tells us all about the dangers of meeting your new partner’s friends in horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies, starring Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson, Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders, and Myha’la Herrold. Apparently, having people you just met huddle up in another room to whisper about you while you go to the bathroom to stare at yourself in the mirror and wonder if you’ve been saying the right things isn’t the worst thing that could happen when you’re introduced to an already tightly knit group of friends. You could always wind up killing one of their Tinder dates with a kettlebell! We’ve all been there! And to think, you came bearing homemade gifts!
Reijn’s second feature film centers around a group of gen z-ers that have gotten together for a “hurricane party” at a house owned by David, childhood best friend of protagonist and eyeliner connoisseur Sophie. Sophie arrives late to the party with her new girlfriend Bee in tow. She’s ready to face her long-time friends after a mysterious hiatus from both the groupchat and their real lives. Her appearance shocks the group, and the tension between the 7 appears immediately. What follows is a chaotic breakdown of the group during the search for a violent killer in the house. Before long, they turn on each other, taking the audience for a wild ride as the slasher comedy twists and turns on the screen.
A Deadly Game
As the lights flicker and the wind rattles the windows, the group begins to party hard, really hard. Drugs, alcohol, passive-aggressive stares. The party progresses and intensifies throughout the night. Meanwhile, the storm worsens outside. As the excitement lulls, they decide to play a game- Bodies Bodies Bodies.
The rules are as follows: A player is designated as the killer by receiving a paper marked with an X. Once everyone is aware of their role, the lights are shut off. The group then scatters, crawling away to evade the killer. The killer “kills” someone, and the body is left to be discovered. Once the body is found the players notify each other and turn the lights on. The “body” must stay where it is and the group reconvenes to investigate. The “body” cannot help with the investigation while it goes on. The group then decides on the killer and accuses them. If they are right, the killer must confess.
Along for the Ride
Much to the chagrin of my fellow film enthusiast peers, I did really, really enjoy this movie. It was a mix of the crowd (excited NYU students in fashionable pajamas) and their reactions throughout the 95-minute runtime, the score and soundtrack, and the sheer thrilling silliness of it all that brought it all together for me. I’ve seen several failed Gen-Z pandering movies (a la Not Okay) and I admittedly went into this expecting nothing more than poorly executed stereotypes and annoyingly out-of-touch “hey fellow kids’ ‘ commentary. Instead, I was presented with a movie that was everything I’d both hoped and feared it would be. This movie is delightfully bloody, viciously funny, and has a killer plot filled with twists and turns that show just how sinister not reading the groupchat can be.
With each shocking death and every burning secret that comes to light, the true colors of every member of this upper-class, internet-savvy group are shown in a way that furthers the story and makes the characters all the more real and compelling. From reveals of infidelity, false backgrounds, hidden intentions, and grudges gone untold there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this group of podcasting, TikToking, fashion-forward 20-somethings. The post-mortem reveal of Pace’s “too old to be here” character as a veterinarian, not a veteran, was the moment I knew we were in for a treat, and I was not disappointed. I was hooked, and I strapped myself in for what was sure to be a wild ride.
The Whodunit Film of the Summer
“He’s a libra moon! That says a lot!”
There are a few of the widely dreaded cliches here and there. If it had been pushed a little more it would have ruined the film for me, however I’ll be forgiving in the name of effort. When the serious moments came around, they were incredibly well done. I leaned onto the edge of my seat as the group scoured the enormous property for the killer, gulping down Diet Coke as they were slowly picked off one by one. By the time the group has realized that the killer was tragic circumstance all along, they’ve racked up a body count themselves.
I can’t say I was expecting this as a viewer. I had my suspicions about who the killer was throughout the film. The director clearly wanted us to see Jordan as the obvious choice of the killer. For me, it was her aggressive personality and apparent vendetta against Sophie. However, with time she is revealed to be just as scared and confused as the rest of the group. The mention of an unseen character with a bone to pick with David felt like a red herring. Luckily, it was. I was internally begging this movie not to give me a bad and expected ending, and it didn’t. As the group narrowed down, I was wondering if we would be getting a Final Girl slasher film. Then, when the grand reveal came about, my jaw dropped alongside the other theatergoers.
From outrageous endings to tumultuous interpersonal conflicts, Bodies Bodies Bodies leaves the viewers laughing, gasping, and cowering all the way through. A24 has been rising in popularity now more than ever, and they rarely disappoint. I hope to see more actors like Sonnett in mainstream films, and I’m sure others will say the same. The list of upcoming hits from the production company includes Pearl, the prequel to the hit horror film X that came only a few months ago. When it comes to horror, companies like Blumhouse are falling behind production companies like A24. Bodies Bodies Bodies is a film I would not hesitate to see again. I hope that more people get to experience it in theaters. So, next time you go to meet a new group of people, watch your back- and don’t play with any swords.