Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

Bodies Bodies Bodies
Director: Halina Reijn
Writer: Sarah DeLappe
Based on: Kristen Roupenian‘s spec script
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson, Myha’la Herrold, Lee Pace
Seen on: 31.10.2022

Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) haven’t been dating for very long, their relationship somewhat fragile. But Sophie is determined to introduce Bee to her friends, thinking that the ideal way is to bring Bee to the tornado party at David’s (Pete Davidson) house: a party to while away the time while a tornado passes overhead. Bee is nervous, not just because of the tornado, but also because she is not as rich as Sophie, David and their friends and so she fears she will feel out of place. But quickly this is far from the biggest problem they have. Tensions between the friends are high, and then David turns up dead.

Bodies Bodies Bodies is a fun romp with a great cast that will keep you guessing. But even if you happen to guess the film’s resolution, you’ll have fun with this one. It might not be an absolute highlight, but it is a more than decent entry in the genre.I’m glad that it got a regular cinema release after COVID kept me from seeing it at the SLASH Filmfestival.

The film poster showing the group of friends, most of them having some kind of flashlight.

Bodies Bodies Bodies follows the familiar structure of the “Then There Were None” type slasher movies. But it manages to give the film a very fresh feel, both by the absolutely fantastic cast and the sociological analysis that is woven into the narrative. The film puts together a really great ensemble that is really all around great, with Stenberg and Makalova as the emotional core, and Sennott stealing every scene she is in. That Lee Pace is in the film was a particular highlight for me. There are not enough films with him.

They play vivid characters and very few of them are actually likeable. But they are so vibrant that they are certainly interesting, and the way the character constellation is set up, allows for many social points to be made. Bee who observes the wealth of Sophie and her friends, as well as their backstabbing with large eyes. Greg (Lee Pace) who is much older than the others and is realizing just how young the people around him are bit by bit. And in turn, the suspicious reactions of the group to him that is shaped as much by rumors as by stereotypes.

Bee (Maria Bakalova), Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), Jordan (Myha'la Herrold) and Alice (Rachel Sennott) looking at something together.

This by a group of people who know all the right buzzwords that have become quite popular in online discourse – from gaslighting to ableism. The film manages to show that while they do have a general understanding of those concepts, but will turn just as quickly to weaponizing them to deflect criticism as actually using them earnestly. At one point, Sophie accuses one of the others of ableism, only to use “lame” as derogative in the next sentence herself. Fortunately, the film doesn’t fall into the trap of denouncing “wokeism”, but rather examines how things can go wrong without questioning that gaslighting or ableism are indeed serious problems that need to be talked about.

The film might have a couple of lengths here and there, and it is maybe missing a certain sense of urgency that would have really pushed it over into greatness territory. But it is a fun and entertaining film that I can see myself revisiting at some point.

Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) lying in the grass, looking at each other.

Summarizing: fun.

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