“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is not only a vicious and funny skewering of the self-obsessed Generation Z, it is also a smart and inventive whodunnit that keeps the film’s interest level high while packing a cinematic whallop.
A hurricane is closing in on land. Rich twenty something David (Pete Davidson) throws a “hurricane party” at his family mansion for his group of friends, each one a spoiled, drug addicted, emotional mess.
The title refers to the murder-themed game the group plays when the power goes out; a game that will lead to different forms of inner and outer turmoil.
As the alcohol and illegal substances flow freely, the game leads to more damage that any hurricane could ever do.
Sarah DeLappe’s screenplay (based on a story by Kristen Roupenian) has twisted fun while presenting interesting characters full of dysfunctions that will contribute to the destruction of their circle of friends.
David (usually the only male on the group) feels threatened the presence of tall and lean 40-year-old, Greg (Lee Pace), the new “boyfriend” of Alice (Rachel Sennott, in a funny and witty turn). This causes him to have attitude towards his guests, leading to a shocking display of misplaced territoriality.
David’s girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) is a bit jealous and somewhat untrusting of everyone, even though her time as an actress has clouded how fully her friends can trust her emotional outbursts.
Sophie and Bee (Amandla Stenberg and Maria Bakalova) are the two leads. Sophie is best buds with David but since going to rehab, she has cut herself off from her friends, whom she feels are dangerous enablers.
Feeling strong due to her new romance with the nervous and self-conscious Bee, Sophie surprises her old cohorts with a visit, introducing her new love.
Both actresses couldn’t be more perfect in their performances. The two pull off the purity and eroticism of their characters while staying grounded as everything around them begins to fall apart, including how they begin to see one another.
Bakalova was rightfully Oscar-nominated for her work in 2020’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm…” and here she shows a deeper and darker side, using her expressive face to great effect. This is certainly an actress to watch.
The same can be said for Stenberg. A standout with her captivating performance in 2018’s “The Hate U Give”, the actress finds her most adult role yet and taps into many different emotional arcs, succeeding at each. Her performance is the highlight of the film.
Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) is the seemingly tough and headstrong one of the group. Right from the start, her intentions are ambiguous and the audience both follows and questions her in equal measure.
Director Helina Reijn sets her film up extremely well as she plants the seeds of mistrust right away. In these early scenes, Rejin preps the audience for a modern mystery a ’la Agatha Christie. Once the titular game commences, people argue and tensions run high. When one character turns out to be dead, the paranoia boils over as the outside hurricane increases its intensity.
As “order” breaks down, the biting attacks and hard truths lead to many dangerous situations.
Jasper Wolf’s camerawork sells the tension, as he winds down the mansion’s long hallways. While I usually dislike the use of handheld camera techniques, Wolf’s style works well to put the audience into the character’s disorientation as they try to navigate the dark, led only by the lights of their cell phones.
The score from Disasterpiece (who did fantastic work for “It Follows”) tips its hat to the film music of John Carpenter, but becomes its own entity. The synth score pulsates with the rhythms of a rapid heartbeat and intensifies with every new twist and turn. Never drowning out but complimenting the onscreen action, Disasterpiece has delivered one of the more memorable scores in recent memory.
Other critics have called this a Gen Z “Clue”, but this film is much more than that.
The pettiness and self-absorbed victim culture of today takes a well-deserved beating. As each character reveals their issues, others must create their own to feel on the same wavelength as those with real problems. For Generation Z, it is all about “me, and scene by scene, this misguided way of seeing one’s place in the world is sharply taken down. Some truly biting and poiunted humor is to be found in this picture.
The characters mirror the constant finger-pointing done by today’s under 30 crowd. Everyone claims to feel threatened, even when they are the aggressors. Their actions cause serious harm, as does the current climate of attack and destroy someone’s livelyhood before facts are examined or the accussed has a chance to defend themselves.
The chaos in this film represents the societal chaos caused by the misguided “social justice warriors” of today’s youth.
Fret not genre fans, the film isn’t all heavy. Its messages are found within a film that is a complete blast. From beginning to end, this is a thrill ride for viewers.
Wickedly funny, intriguing, and brutal, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a crackling and inventive thriller that will have you gasping and laughing in equal measure.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Written by Sarah DeLappe from a story by Kristen Roupenian
Directed by Halina Reijn
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Pete Davidson, Lee Pace
R, 94 Minutes, A24