Bodies Bodies Bodies is the latest A24 -produced horror which seems to have its finger on the pulse of the times. It’s a zeitgeist-y and wildly entertaining slasher with much to say about the human condition.
Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) arrive at Sophie’s friend David’s (Pete Davidson, hilarious) lavish house for a party as a severe storm is about to hit. Immediately, there is tension within the group that also includes Sophie’s ex Jordan, inspiring podcaster Alice and David’s girlfriend Emma. Once the action moves inside the house as the storm rages on outside, the group plays the titular game in which one of the group is a murderer and will swiftly murder someone and the entire group must work together to interrogate and decide who did it.
Except things to awfully wrong as the bodies start piling up for real and there seems to be a real murderer amongst them.
It’s a very simple, contained idea that kicks off Halina Reijn’s assured English-language directorial debut. And just from looking at the trailer which is filled with ear-grating music and a lot of TikTok slang, you might be rolling your eyes in fatigue at the overpowering style of the film. But give it a chance. If you look past the shallow, overly-stylized surface, Bodies Bodies Bodies examines the crossovers between humanity and monstrosity.
Language plays a huge part in Reijn’s film. The characters are of so-called Gen-Z demographic, used to describe the generation following millennials and they are very online; everything must be recorded, Snapchatted and posted online for likes and viral fame. They’re also viscerally aware and appropriately scared of toxicity and record podcasts.
The film lives and dies with its cast. Maria Bakalova is brilliant as Bee, the instant outsider, both by social norms as well as nationality. Bakalova astonished audiences in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm for which she also bagged a surprise Oscar nomination and she’s great here too. Bee is the heart and soul of the film, the eyes through which we see the action unfold, but Reijn never lets us believe that Bee is completely innocent either.
Stenberg is equally captivating, but it’s Rachel Sennott who completely steals the show as the neurotic Alice. As the night progresses, more deaths occur and the facade fades away, Alice seems to stay most true to herself. Lee Pace is also having a great time playing Greg, Alice’s much older Tinder date.
Reijn’s film is undoubtedly provocative but also deeply satisfying. Sarah DeLappe’s script is devilishly clever and combined with Reijn’s visual flair and Disasterpeace’s music, Bodies Bodies Bodies is almost intoxicating. It provides laughs and thrills in equal measure and the deaths are never too over the top, but should still satisfying more hardcore horror fans.
While the film leans heavily, confidently into its flamboyant style, it can still be a little grating and on the nose. Every now and then it frustratingly proceeds to mock the entire Gen-Z generation by default, which feels a tiny bit smug or even tone-deaf. The film is also a little stretched and while it stays intense until the very end, the final revelation is as thrilling as it is frustrating.
Bodies Bodies Bodies is still a sensational, fun addition to the A24 brand of horror. Fun, brutal and thoroughly entertaining, this modern slasher is well worth your time. Come for the gory kills, stay for the thoughtful and shocking exploration of human nature.