There’s a certain cruelty that can come with being young, rich, and beautiful. No matter how inclusive and woke the group of frenemies in Bodies Bodies Bodies tries to make themselves seem, even they can’t deny what’s sitting just below the surface of their carefully-crafted facades.
This cruelty is bound to come out, despite the group’s best attempts to keep it all under wraps. Repressing your true feelings under the guise of keeping up with social mores is a great set-up for a horror movie, but a comedy too. Thankfully there’s plenty of suspense and laughs in this slasher-comedy from Halina Reijn, and how could there not be? It’s hard not to laugh when characters call each other out for being ableist (or ignoring the group chat) while their friends are littered around them, lying in pools of blood.
We meet this particularly toxic friend group through Bee (Maria Bakalova). She’s dating Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), and they’re both en route to David’s (Pete Davidson) parents’ megamansion to meet up with the rest of Sophie’s friends for a hurricane party. It’s clear from the beginning of the movie that Bee and Sophie’s relationship is very new, setting the tone for the social tensions that will hit a boiling point later on in the movie.
When we get to the party, we meet Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), Alice (Rachel Sennott), and Greg (Lee Pace). They’re all self-absorbed, soaked in drugs and booze, completely lacking in self-awareness, and a blast to watch. We soon learn that Sophie has been MIA from the group, is a recovering addict, and showed up at the mansion seemingly unannounced with Bee, creating some awkward vibes within the group.
This is only the start of the interpersonal conflicts that are all teeming underneath the subtext of every interaction and exchange the friends have with each other. Building resentments, unspoken grievances, and sexual tension are all there, just to name a few. Eventually, these conflicts bubble to the surface. The real action, however, starts when the gang begins the titular game and the bodies really start piling up.
Bodies Bodies Bodies could have been another tired attempt to “say something” about the generations of young people who’ve grown up with social media while taking itself too seriously in the process. Instead, it mostly succeeds at avoiding self-serious pitfalls with great performances and a whip-smart script. Maria Bakalova, of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm fame, in particular, is compelling as Bee, our window into this world and an outsider looking in. She’s all soft-spoken nerves, and at the same time, there’s a resilience and mystery to her that makes her immensely watchable. Lee Pace is pitch perfect, delivering endearing cluelessness and menace in what may be the himbo performance of the year as Greg, a new boyfriend to Rachel Sennott’s Alice. Speaking of Rachel Sennott, she’s another standout here — her comedic timing and delivery are fantastic, earning her some of the biggest laughs in the movie.
Technology plays a central role here (a group chat and TikTok videos are two key plot points), and what the movie is saying about it feels both less hamfisted than it could be and not as sharp as it should be. Ultimately, the movie is about the pitfalls and (in this case) literally fatal consequences of vapidity and shallowness, which technology and social media can feed into and reward. I won’t spoil the identity of the killer in this review, but only because the suspense the movie builds up around a surprising and somewhat disappointing reveal is too delicious to spill here.
Some might find the lack of clear villains in the cast annoying, but I enjoyed guessing until the movie’s final minutes and relish the rare occasion when a contemporary movie can give us complicated characters on screen. Plus, it looks great – the use of darkness/minimal light sources (like glow sticks or cell phone flashlights) is eye-catching and allows for monochrome lighting moments that bring to mind the movies of Dario Argento. The kills are well-used here, adding to the movie’s tight and efficient pacing while being chill-inducing, too. Bodies is not as sharp as the various weapons used on the unsuspecting rich 20-somethings in the movie, but it’s a fun, bloody watch that lets its characters be queer without making them one-dimensional — something that can’t be said for another recent queer slasher, They/Them, but I digress.
There is plenty to love about Bodies Bodies Bodies, even if it could’ve sharpened its satirical knives a bit more. Overall, it’s a fun, darkly humorous watch that’s worth checking out if you’re looking for something fresh to satisfy your appetite for horror and humor in equal measure.
There is plenty to love about 'Bodies Bodies Bodies', even if the fun, darkly humorous horror comedy could’ve sharpened its satirical knives a bit more.