‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Review: A Deliriously Funny Lark into Paranoia and Murder

A24
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In the newest and bloodiest film from A24, seven privileged friends gather at an isolated mansion to party-out an oncoming hurricane. New lovers, the sweetly accented Bee (Maria Bakalova) and impulsive, newly recovering Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), grin sheepishly at each other as they drive up to the house. When the pair arrives, it becomes clear that their presence is unexpected and complicated. Already hanging out at the pool are hot girl podcaster Alice (Rachel Sennott) and her older fresh-from-Tinder boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace), gentle-faced actress Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) and her boyfriend, rich boy house-owner David (Pete Davidson), and strong-willed pragmatist Jordan (Myha’la Herrold). Aside from Greg and Bee, the ensemble have extensive histories with each other, some even being childhood friends, though there is a certain jaded dislike they all seem to have for each other. They converse awkwardly on the pool deck until Greg sabers a champagne bottle, splitting the silence and making David envious (he seems to feel threatened by the well-muscled and taller-than-him guy). 

Shrieking and running into the house when the rain begins, the group begins to properly party. They pour mixed drinks, dig into home-baked edibles, and teach Greg how to do TikTok dances. Soon they turn to messily-poured vodka shots and snorting coke. Once night fully settles and the world darkens, Sophie suggests they play a game called bodies bodies bodies. The game involves one randomly assigned killer who murders another player in darkness by tapping them on the back. Everyone then attempts to determine who the killer is. This process exposes the tensions within the intoxicated and reactive group, which results in cruel verbal sparring. 

Then, the power goes out and the first body drops. The night plummets into a paranoid and drug-crazed whodunnit. In trying to protect themselves from an unknown killer, they begin to slaughter each other, depraved and desperate. Despite the bloodbath, the friends are hilariously vapid and self-absorbed til death. They continue verbally assaulting each other and asserting their pretensions even as blood-soaked bodies fall, each madly insisting on having the moral upper hand while decimating their relationships and exposing every offensive detail. They are collectively insufferable, spouting Twitter buzzwords and posturing at wokeness with chronically online phrasing as they attempt to crucify each other. 

The film intentionally explores the influence that the internet has on relationships and in creating stress to an extreme. These terminally online, wealthy characters find it impossible to have even a single substantial conversation and it makes them loathsome. Sophie is vilified for not responding in the group chat and there is an arduously long conversation about the podcast Alice hosts that everyone hates (she insists a podcast is hard work, okay). They find Bee suspicious because she is un-Googleable and they have similar suspicions about Greg because Alice met him two weeks ago on Tinder (like, does she even know his middle name). They value material appearance over anything real, even as they die rather gruesome deaths. 

The script is punctual and dynamic, hitting comedic beats relentlessly through scenes dripping with gore and drama. This is bolstered by an excellent cast who are insanely well-suited to their roles. Everyone clearly had a blast while filming. Sennott, with sharp comedic timing unlike any other, is particularly singular as Alice and plays wonderfully against Pace. Stenberg is delightful and Davidson is splendidly infuriating. Herrold, Wonders, and Bakalova are all equally fantastic as their characters, great in their sincere moments as well as those where they become unhinged and frenetic. 

Director Halina Reijn composes a frantic narrative and demanding atmosphere. She establishes an electric energy from the opening notes, something upbeat and unhinged. Tension is strung out incredibly well through technical choices and stylistic embellishments; tight face-heavy shots lit by glow sticks and phone flashlights, the incessant pounding storm outside, anxious camera movement, and hypnotic chase scenes through a house that feels unendingly massive. This chest-tightening visual landscape only amplifies the psychological. Reijn truly excels when it comes to thrilling emotional tension and it shows here (see her stunning film Instinct for a darker and more intensely psychological approach). 

A sleek and cleverly executed Gen Z murder mystery, Bodies Bodies Bodies is an amusingly horrifying lesson against playing paranoia-inducing games while exorbitantly intoxicated. It is surprising and profoundly enjoyable, a bold escapade in the horror genre. 

Jenna Kalishman

Jenna Kalishman is a writer and student at Colorado College pursuing English and film studies. She especially loves morally questionable female characters, Stevie Nicks, sapphic yearning, and Rachel Weisz's energy in The Favourite.

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