Friday, August 12

Bodies Bodies Bodies Review

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Dir: Halina Reijn

Starring: Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Myha'la Herrold, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace, and Pete Davidson

1h 35m

In director Halina Reijn's devious "Bodies Bodies Bodies," a group of early twenty-somethings prepares for a heavy evening of drugs and alcohol during a hurricane party at a lavish mansion. The entitled rich kids display zero worries as the weather shifts aggressively, posing one of them to scream confidently into the face of the storm, asking, "is that all you got…". As the evening progresses, past traumas are exposed, and identities are challenged. To cool heated tempers, the group decides to play a game, a murder mystery whodunit that turns into a complete nightmare. 

"Bodies Bodies Bodies" plays its comedy and horror tropes with precision balance, allowing the film to weave unsuspecting traps of suspense and dig deeper into its satire with ease. It's fun watching the young people devolve as the niceties fade, sweet sentiments turn foul, secrets are revealed, and trust is betrayed without remorse. As the social order falls to pieces as the storm rages, the body count rises, and the remaining friends must survive the night. 

The narrative, a slasher design that audiences, especially horror fans, have seen many times over, rarely tries to scare the viewer. Instead, the operative driving emotion for the film is uneasy suspense crafted strictly between the character dynamics of the group. The composition of the characters is razor sharp; each composes a unique emotional quality that plays well during the heights of a party vibe and in the depths of a house of horrors. Instead of a killer wielding a knife and chasing after people down long hallways, the group wanders throughout the house throwing accusations and insults that cut deeper than any butcher knife. There are moments when the film stumbles off its effectively structured flow of horror and comedy; as the film shifts into more substantial horror/thriller elements, the rhythm of satire and suspense turns into a one-note repetition of scary movie trappings. Still, it's barely noticeable because of the performances from the talented group of actors. 

The cast of "Bodies Bodies Bodies" play a significant factor in keeping the shifts in tone from becoming too cartoonish with its dramatic swings or feeling overly familiar even when it's evident that the slasher features have been exhausted. The performances have a sense of improvisation, a looseness with its heavily influenced Gen Z dialogue, and a naturalistic quality that makes the tears, screams, laughs, and panics move in harmony. 

Maria Bakalova plays Bee, the newcomer to the tight-knit friends whose cautious nature turns suspicious. Amandla Stenberg, playing the recovering addict Sophie, is a ray of glowing optimism, a renewed soul brought back into the fold of toxic friendships that fed her addictive compulsions. Rachel Sennott, who has some of the best one-liners in the film, and Myha'la Herrold, who is fantastic as the untrusting best friend, both play their roles with pitch-perfect success. 

Director Halina Reijn takes a simple slasher structure and bolsters it high with interesting characters accompanied by excellent performances. Where "Bodies Bodies Bodies" might have faltered due to its self-awareness, it instead uses the character's connection to media, identity, and social politics to its benefit in the construction of a hierarchy that, when put under distress, crumbles with ingenious satire and amusing suspense. 

Monte's Rating

3.50 out of 5.00

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