A24's black comedy thriller Bodies Bodies Bodies gives a Gen Z twist to the conventional whodunnit but lacks cohesion amid the riotous comedy.
Written by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Halina Reijn in her English-language debut, the film stars Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Myha’la Herrold, Rachel Sennot, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace and Pete Davidson.
The film follows a group of 20-somethings who get stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane. When a party game goes very, very wrong, it ends with a dead body on the ground and fake friends at every turn as they try to find the killer among them.
Here's the trailer for the film:
[Minor spoilers ahead]
Often a little too quickly paced for its own good, the film wastes no time in setting up its characters and getting the party started. Bakalova’s Bee is a timid Eastern European student who gets pulled into a shitstorm after travelling with her new girlfriend - Stenberg’s Sophie - to a mansion party.
Other guests included in the mix are party host and rich white brat David (Davidson), an actress but not really Emma (Wonders), an over-eager podcaster Alice (Sennot), her hot middle-aged boyfriend Greg (Pace) and the dark horse Jordan (Herrold). An all inclusive Gen-Z Clue ensemble, if you will.
After an evening of line-snorting, edible munching, copious amounts of alcohol and other debaucherous activities, the group decide to play a game of the eponymous Bodies Bodies Bodies - where one of them becomes a murderer, and the others have to find out their identity.
The film does well in setting up webs of tension between its different characters, each caught up in intertwining prejudices and secrets of their own, waiting to explode in front of their eyes.
A few confrontations later, Pete Davidson’s spoilt white kid aesthetic is put on full display with his outrage towards Emma’s 'woke'-abulary,
In perfect And Then They Were None fashion, things take a turn for the worse when the boundaries between the game and reality are blurred to the point that quite literal bodies start accumulating.
After discovering David’s throat slit open outside, the panic sets in and the group starts to turn on each other, each suspicious of the other for a multiplicity of reasons.
As the more and more bodies start accumulating, the mistrust and skepticism peels away the many layers of insecurities and cover-ups that were holding the group together. Familial dynamics crumble and make for some hilarious outbursts, particularly from Sennot’s Alice.
However, at its core, the film functions as a devilishly funny satire on class and privilege. Cleverly scripted dialogues mock the excessiveness of later-millennial/Gen-Z woke culture as characters throw around social-media jargon such as escalation or trigger or toxic as generously as the popped Xanax.
The millennial preoccupation with technology and the Internet leaves this TikTok dancing, vaping bunch of friends incapable of dealing with the crises that face them, their apparent progressive politics ironically responsible for their own demise.
The events preceding the final act however feel too all-over-place to keep track of happenings, with characters having a change of heart and dropping dead like flies all over the place. A fitting final twist reveals David’s mishaps involving a bottle of champagne, a Nepali Gurkha sword and a possible TikTok recording session as the cause of his death.
Bodies Bodies Bodies is edgy when it needs to be but messy where it shouldn’t be, which doesn’t say much in a year chock full of exceptional class satires.
We're going with 2.5 out of 5 for the movie.
Bodies Bodies Bodies is out in theatres now.