Release Date – 9th September 2022, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 34 minutes, Director – Halina Reijn
A simple murder-mystery game between friends attending a party during a hurricane leads to an actual series of murders.
There’s something of a knowing wink from writer Sarah DeLappe and director Halina Reijn as its announced by one member of Bodies Bodies Bodies’ central group of friends that “every time we play this game it gets ugly”. It certainly turns out to be the case this time around as a simple mid-party murder-mystery game devolves into a series of real murders with the friends – and some of their respective partners, not all of whom were known to be turning up – find themselves frantically running around an expansive house trying to find out who the killer is amongst their tears, arguments and near-fallings out.
Primarily we follow Maria Bakalova’s Bee, meeting her girlfriend Sophie’s (Amandla Stenberg) friends for the first time at a party taking place during a hurricane. It’s established early on that there are already various tensions and fractured relationships within this group – it’s very easy to get the gist of who they are quite early on. There’s no denying the ‘Gen Z’ target market, who the film should hopefully work for rather well; broadened out successfully by the satirical edges that are on display. There are plenty of quick quips and one-liners planted into the various conversations and arguments that take place over recently discovered dead bodies. Such moments are smartly constructed within the screenplay, as is the course of the film as a whole. Providing a natural feel which simply helps to bring you in to the film that bit more and be more entertained by it.
As things pan out and the group are trapped in the dark, the hurricane taking out all the power, the levels of horror begin to rise. It matches the elements of dark comedy, lightly playing out in the background and growing overtime as the level of panic the central figures are experiencing increases. The two tones blend together to simply push each other and strengthen the film as it goes along. The 94 minute run-time generally passes quickly and it’s largely thanks to the pure entertainment factor of the film, pushed by a highly enjoyable cast who understand the tones and satire on display – including the likes of Rachel Sennott, Pete Davidson (both of whom create a number of chuckles along the way), Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders and Lee Pace. The small cast work well together and there’s an energy from them – partly produced by what seems like them enjoying making this film – which echoes throughout the fun and slight thrills of the deadly game of Bodies Bodies Bodies that they play out.
Once we get to the big finale, a truly great extended confrontational scene, there’s a cocktail of points to be experienced. We see references to, and taking of, drugs and alcohol throughout, leading to a number of serious points to be raised, particularly in these final moments. It’s testament to the film that amongst the satire which has come beforehand, and indeed the laughs which are also present during this same scene, that it can play with the same tone but play the moment completely straight when it needs to. Making interesting points, particularly for its target demographic, and forming a very modern film in the vein of Ingrid Goes West. One which understands who its representing and seemingly primarily being made for whilst managing to spread out to other groups thanks to the satire which is also on display.
When you mix in the dark humour, light horror and the consistent murder-mystery plot – which certainly has you playing along and double guessing on a number of occasions – there’s a highly enjoyable time to be had within Bodies Bodies Bodies. The energetic efforts of the cast and crew all pay off to create an original, sharp, entertaining ride. Not forgetting its serious elements, it keeps you in place throughout staying true to a promise made near the start of the film that the characters indeed are “not as nihilistic as they seem on the internet”.
Smart, funny and not forgetting its elements of horror and mystery there’s a strong blend in Bodies Bodies Bodies which helps to formulate a very Gen Z product. Branching out with its sharp satire it doesn’t forget its serious points about its energetic ensemble.