Bodies Bodies Bodies is in many ways a generic instalment in the slasher genre, but also a biting satire of Gen Z/Millenial and online culture.
A biting new take on the slasher genre aimed at Millenials and Gen Z, Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies is a horror where the real threats are self-indulgence and Twitter buzzwords. The cast do an excellent job of playing a group of largely insufferable young people who all, except one, come from wealthy backgrounds. As they attempt to party at one of their mansions during a hurricane, they throw around words they don’t properly understand – from misusing ‘gaslighting’ and ‘narcissism’ to repeating common internet phrases like “facts are facts.” They play at having a good time with their friends, but only ever have their own best interests at heart.
New couple Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) join Sophie’s old friends at this lavish house party. Their presence is unexpected and awkward, and sets off a sinister chain of events. Vapid Alice (Rachel Sennott) has brought her new, much older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace), and Sophie’s childhood best friend David (Pete Davidson) is dating Emma (Chase Sui Wonders). The last member of the group is Myha’la Herrold’s Jordan, who warns Bee that Sophie isn’t all she seems.
As the weather worsens, the friends decide to play a game of ‘bodies bodies bodies’, a hide and seek-like game where one person is the designated ‘murderer’. When it goes badly and reveals the cracks in their relationships, a real murder ensues and they must seek out the real killer among them.
As is evident from the synopsis, Bodies Bodies Bodies plays to traditional slasher tropes, and does little to subvert them. The majority of the characters either have little personality, or a very simplified one. The exception to this being Sophie and Bee, the only two characters to have fleshed out backstories – including complicated pasts and families. While the film may be generic, it’s also a well-executed and stylistically atmospheric addition to the genre.
The hurricane provides a lot of sinister, continuous background sound, and the house is often a shadowy, suspense-inducing place to be as the characters creep around. It’s also smartly-written when it comes to the fine details. Every object you see handled on screen is at some point utilised. Everything it sets up gets paid off.
In terms of who the film presents as suspects, though, it’s fairly formulaic. Greg is set up as the obvious psycho from the get-go – he’s a war veteran who opens champagne bottles with a sword and seems just a little bit too calm. Pace and Davidson are the standout performances of this slasher, with Pace stealing scenes with his simple and fun-loving demeanor, while Davidson seems to be poking fun at his own image by playing an unassuming guy aspiring to Don Juan status. Naturally, the two of them clash, and it’s great to see the two actors face off against each other.
Towards the end of its runtime, Bodies Bodies Bodies dares to do something unexpected, and it’s the first time it messes with the usual slasher formula. It may cause mixed opinions, especially in those who love the genre as it is, but it heightens the absurdity of its characters and furthers the satirical elements.
In many ways it’s very generic, and does occasionally descend into a flurry of online buzzwords, but the performances are memorable and the film does a good job of mocking the very generation it’s representing, and the perpetually online culture they’ve found themselves wrapped up in.
Bodies Bodies Bodies is released in UK cinemas on 9th September.
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