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Bodies Bodies Bodies Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

“They are not as nihilistic, as they look on the internet,” A statement co-lead Sophie tells her new girlfriend Bee. Well, that’s an effing lie!

Genre: Comedy / Horror / Mystery

Director: Halina Reijn

Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Pete Davidson, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace & Conner O’Malley.

Run Time: 130 min.

US Release: 05 August 2022

UK Release: 09 September 2022

German Release: 27 October 2022


I am usually a big fan of A24, especially when it comes to horror. Their last shockers included well-rounded characters, had deeply disturbing atmospheres, yet what I liked most is that they simply told a good story! So I was naturally looking forward to finally having Halina Rejin’s horror-comedy released in Germany. To my surprise, I left the screening room disappointed, because what I obtained was a generation-specific murder satire that, while being good, felt like it alienated older audiences. So throw on your fluorescent-coloured jewellery and dive with me into my review for Bodies Bodies Bodies.

Nervous about meeting the smug, wealthy, twenty-something-year-old friends of her new, rehabilitated girlfriend Sophie, shy Bee arrives late to a drug and booze-fuelled hurricane party. When a party game turns into deadly reality, fake friends start being revealed.


The screenplay, written by Sarah DeLappe, contains a good amount of references to Generation Z, flipping them on their head and poking fun at them, without ever being disrespectful. It felt like a more polite version, of this year's Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was an absolute hate letter to zoomers. Using the construct of a murder mystery, DeLappe simply holds a mirror in front of its audience, as it explores that generation's relationships (friendly or romantic).


Nihilism and hypocrisy are very much the subtexts of this flick! All the displayed open-mindedness plus social morals, are soon uncovered to being nothing else but hypocritic statements as the characters start turning against each other, revealing their self-centred nature. The reveal at the end is a big metaphor for the nihilistic views of Gen-Zers.


That said, I can’t help to think that this movie is directed specifically at a Gen-Z audience. Yes sure, older viewers can have fun watching this, but I just did not connect with the story or the characters, which are a whole different problem! It also suffers from severe pacing issues between deaths, as nothing happens, while characters crawl through the darkness, with their smartphone lights and glow-in-the-dark jewellery, serving to illuminate what is in front of them. It also gets really tedious, after listening to the girls bickering about their privileged lives, for the tenth time.


Conversations are well executed, thanks to the inclusion of the cast to make the vocabulary sound organically authentic. Thus, the speech patterns feel realistic, containing a lot of swearing, as well as pretentious monologues.


Let me get one thing straight; every cast member gave a marvellous performance! The issue with the personas, therefore, is not how they are rendered by the actors but how they are written. Every one of them starts showing the most atrocious behaviour, making the latter half of the runtime extremely irritating, as one needs to sit through 45 minutes, watching people you hate, try to survive the night.


Maria Bakalova, who obtained international recognition with her performance in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, plays Bee. A timid, Eastern-European young immigrant, she is nervous about meeting the wealthy friends of her new girlfriend Sophie. Bee is the one person viewers can empathise with early on, although that image is shattered right at the middle mark, leaving no likeable character. Bakalova gave once again a brilliant performance, her chemistry with co-lead Stenberg, being impeccable


Amandla Stenberg portrays the romantic counterpart to Bee’s character, Sophie. Just like Bakalova, she gave a stellar performance. Sophie quickly reveals herself to be an egoistical person, who has hidden skeletons in her closet. She leaves Bee behind, with no proper introduction to her friends, for the majority of the beginning of the party, also never coming to her aid later on.


Pete Davidson is once again brilliant, though only has a very small screen time. I am simply mentioning him, because he was an integral part of the marketing strategy for Reijn’s film, turning out to be nothing else but a red herring.


Camera-wise, the movie starts with the strongest shot in the whole flick: A close-up of characters Sophie and Bee, looking deeply in love into each other's eyes, while kissing. It sets a tone I didn’t expect, hoping to see more of that throughout the runtime. Sadly that wasn’t the case, however, the technique to use minimal lighting, from flashlights, smartphones, or even glow-stick jewellery adds mystery’s suspense.


Effects are to a large amount practical, with punctures, slashes or other wounds looking realistic. Contained inside the house for 85 per cent of the runtime, not much use for CG was needed, other than possibly the storm outside.

 

Verdict: I felt Halina Reijn’s directorial take on the script, to be a rather exclusive premise for Generation Z audiences. I did not find myself connecting much with any of the characters, the closest being Bee, played by Maria Bakalova, who I felt sympathy for at the beginning. However, that changed during the middle mark, when she showed a different side to her personality. That said, I do understand why other people do appreciate this comedy-horror, as it does take the “whodunit” formula and spins it into a satire. Sadly the jokes did not work for me, as I found the characters to be tedious, hoping for them to get killed in the hurricane so I could leave the screening room. The cinematography is good, using darkness, as well as minimal lighting to increase tension. Overall, Bodies Bodies Bodies is just above mediocracy, though not by much. I will give it a 6.0 out of 10.


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