Bodies Bodies Bodies: A subversive and original wink and nod

Bodies Bodies Bodies, courtesy A24
Bodies Bodies Bodies, courtesy A24 /

Bodies Bodies Bodies is A24’s newest gem in an already stacked horror catalog for the quirky production company. The English directorial debut from Dutch thespian Halina Reijn features a star-studded young cast including Maria Bakalova (Borat 2), Amandla Stenburg (The Hate U Give), Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby), and Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island), as well as many others.

It follows a group of wealthy ‘friends’ in their twenties who are gathering to have a hurricane party in their parent’s massive mansion. Expectedly, things go sour when a party game called Bodies Bodies Bodies prompts a bloody whodunnit that delves deep into themes of friendship, trust, and classism in a modern age of internet influencer culture. As terror and chaos ensue, the friends must echo the party game designed to find the killer and their true feelings about one another come boiling violently to the surface. As tempers flare and secrets fly, people keep dying and our characters are locked in a fight to make it through the night.

With incredibly snappy writing and a bevy of exceptional performances, Bodies Bodies Bodies subverts and defies the viewer’s expectations from the first jarring scene. I’m thrilled Maria Bakalova is featured after her explosion into the limelight in Borat 2, and yet again, she smashes this role. I also am always a sucker for Pete Davidson, think what you want about his antics in his personal life, he always delivers the laughter and he really sticks the landing here as well.

Rachel Sennott steals the show here for me, however, with her ability to capture exactly the type of person you would not want to be around in moments of true horror. Many movies recently have tried to spin this clever young adult internet vibe into their horror and generally, it has fallen into the cheesy or tropey category. BBB jumps right over those boxes, it mirrors what these people would actually say, and it never even flirts with cheesiness. The balancing act of a film that is both making fun of the target audience while also appealing to them is such a tricky task, but one that is embraced and executed flawlessly here.

Bodies Bodies Bodies
Bodies Bodies Bodies – A24 /

The cinematography by Jasper Wolf is a powerful tool used to build tension throughout the brisk runtime, whether it is slowly and hesitantly panning through the dark hallways to focus on uncomfortable imagery, or bouncing and jumping around in tense moments of argumentative chaos. It’s coupled with a powerful musical score from Disasterpeace, who you may remember from It Follows, which keeps it grounded and current, moving from bangers like Hot Girl by Charli XCX into crescendoing synthy reverberations.

Bodies Bodies Bodies doesn’t ask us to love all of the characters

A more recent phenomenon in pop culture has been the discovery that your audience does not have to like characters in order for them to like the property itself, and this movie is a shining example of this. The truth is that people are generally more flawed than heroic, more messy than spotless and when the media we consume understands that, we actually tend to resonate with it more. Almost everyone in BBB is intolerable and grating, using each other as a means to an end rather than forming genuine friendships with the company they keep. The fact that they are even throwing a party in the midst of a natural disaster is enough to understand the mindset of our characters.

All in all, your enjoyment of Bodies Bodies Bodies will depend on your expectations. As is typical with A24, nothing is exactly what it seems, and although this movie is being marketed as a slasher, I believe going into it expecting a genuinely hilarious dark comedy whodunnit laced with ribbons of gore and terror will make for the best viewer experience. Regardless, run to the theaters to see a fresh and clever spin on horror to see for yourself. Ultimately, this movie begs the question, are we scared of the things hidden in the dark that we don’t know? Or could it be the thin relationships and vapid bonds we form in today’s online culture that holds the true horror in the end?

Bodies Bodies Bodies is currently only available to watch in theaters.