Star Rating:

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Director: Halina Reijn

Actors: Amanda Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson

Release Date: Friday 5th August 2022

Genre(s): Comedy, Horror

Running time: 95 minutes

Bee (Maria Bakalova) and Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) attend a "hurricane party" with Sophie's childhood friends, David (Pete Davidson), Alice (Rachel Sennott), Jordan (Myha'la Herrold), and Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) and her new boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace). As the power goes out and they settle in, they take part in a party games, where once the light goes out and someone is "killed", the others have to decide who did it. The twist is that bodies are beginning to stack up, and a killer is on the loose in the house...

From the opening salvos of 'Bodies Bodies Bodies', there's a real sense that anyone past the age of thirty is going to have a hard time empathising with or understanding the characters. Of course, youth culture black comedies are nothing new - 'Heathers' is the high watermark, and a frequent touchstone for this endeavour - but there's something about 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' that taps into just how annoying Gen Z is to everyone else, and how terrifying they can be towards themselves. Throw in a rising body count, darkened cinematography, drugs, hormones, and peer pressure, and 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' becomes a swirling morass that is liable to pull anyone in.

It helps, that the cast are all bright young things. Maria Bakalova, who did incredible work on the 'Borat' sequel, is very much the wallflower and audience surrogate, while the likes of 'Shiva Baby' star Rachel Sennott, 'Industry' alum Myha'la Herrold, and Rue from 'The Hunger Games' - that's Amandla Stenberg - soak up the screentime. Pete Davidson has all of a glorified cameo, as does Lee Pace, because this really isn't a movie about millennials or Gen Xers and they're sidelined quickly to underline this point. The remaining cast then are pitted against each other in a locked room mystery.

This is where the movie makes its most fatal mistakes because it's so often the case that you're trying to outsmart it and outthink it, and here you're given ample opportunity to do so. The script by Sarah DeLappe from Kristen Roupenian's story pushes pause to let the cast try puzzle the whole thing out, but never entirely gives them the brain power to do it. What's galling is that the most apparent conclusion ends up being the one that actually happens.

To that end, the whole thing doesn't really work as a murder mystery or a thriller. What it does do well, however, is neatly skewer and satirise Gen Z in such a way that doesn't necessarily come across as high-handed or dismissive. If anything, it's director Halina Reijn who brings the camera and the whole business to their level and forces them to look at themselves. The comedy is ultimately at their expense, and very little sympathy is quartered to the cast when they start dying.

In the end, 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' doesn't quite necessarily live up to the buzz and hype, and that's sort of the point. In the end, it highlights the fact that the current generation is as ultimately empty and vacuous as the rest of us, and that the sharp class divide and the preconceived notions of our time so often poleaxe us in ways we have no eyes to see with.