Directed by Halina Reijn and written by Sarah DeLappe, when a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game turns deadly in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong. Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson, Myha’la Herrold, Lee Pace and Conner O’Malley.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a story accurately portraying a bunch of rich people in their early 20’s might lead to something irritating but thankfully that’s not the case here. Yes, Sarah DeLappe’s writing does capture all of the modern ticks of ultra political correctness, vanity, social media obsessions and egotism but it does so through comedic, playful eyes. It acknowledges the flawed quality to its characters and their exaggerated personalities, it doesn’t inherently ask you to sympathise with them, they’re pawns in the game of Bodies Bodies Bodies. The core of this story is in its suspense, once the first body drops, it’s a ticking time bomb of tension, blood and suspicion. You can’t put together such a selfish band of people without them turning on one another and it’s very entertaining to watch them quickly fall apart. From there it moves exactly as it should, it makes you question everything to figure out who’s behind it, it doesn’t give too much away and it wraps up its story with a hugely satisfying blow, which is perfectly suited to its themes.
Horror comedy is an absolutely joyous genre because there’s no holds barred, anything and everything is on the table but it’s also a delicate balance if you want to do justice to both. Halina Reijn achieves that balance unquestionably, it has the suspense, tension and violence to serve its horror side and keeps a fantastic touch of levity throughout. It simultaneously takes its time in revealing the story and has a brisk pace, it has a really enjoyable snowballing feel to how it moves. Every step deepens the danger and mystery and pokes at the cracks in the relationships between its group of complicated young women.
However, you have to credit a huge part of Bodies Bodies Bodies’ charm to its cast because everyone brings their A-game. It’s hard to single them out because they are very individual but at the same time they work brilliantly as an ensemble. Amandla Stenberg gives a hugely confident and affectionate air but you can feel that she’s holding things back, putting on a happy face. Maria Bakalova brings the awkwardness and insecurity of the outsider at the party but as time goes on her character evolves and opens up. Rachel Sennott feeds into that exact persona you’re expecting from this film, a stereotype of Gen Z but her comedic timing is superb and she’s a huge credit to this film’s humour. Chase Sui Wonders gives us the sensitive actress but also provides a slight curious quality in not knowing whether or not she is entirely genuine. Myha’la Herrold gives us a fiercely independent, strong persona, she’s not subtle about her opinions but she’s also classically hiding her vulnerability. While Pete Davidson and Lee Pace round out the ensemble with some masculine clashing, competitiveness and plenty of brooding from Davidson, and a smooth charm from Pace.
Bodies Bodies Bodies is an excellent blend of horror and comedy, the two compliment each other perfectly to give you a bloody, suspenseful, funny and hugely relevant adventure. It embraces the idea of a murder mystery while also exploring the tumultuous friendships of its young women, creating a blend of emotional toxicity, lies, death and suspicion. Sarah DeLappe’s writing pokes fun at modern society while Halina Reijn’s direction turns it into an entertaining avalanche of an evening. It’s surprisingly clever, fantastically paced and a genuinely great time.