Bodies Bodies Bodies review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
It’d be very easy to write off Bodies Bodies Bodies as a satire fit for boomers. Here’s a film that plays with the slasher formula but retools it to mock the insecurities of Gen-Z. Rather than being fearful of a killer who lurks in the shadows, the victims of this horror film seem more concerned with hiding their class status, hiding romantic affairs, and seeking social media validation. While the film certainly finds humor in these aspects, there’s a better dynamic than just the old and tired “hey, this generation sure is are on their phones a lot, right?”
It helps that there’s a passion for the collective of twenty-somethings having a party. The well-to-do youngsters have their parents away and plan to ride out a hurricane at one of their fancy homes. They drink, do coke, swim in the pool, and play party games like Bodies Bodies Bodies. Tensions brew between them as they all bring a certain amount of baggage to the party. Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) may seem like the most stable couple. They’re average in that we first see them make out romantically and then proceed to tap around on their phones. But there are still some suspicions about them. After all, Sophie wasn’t invited and Bee a newcomer to the group is a bit quiet and shy.
There’s some bitterness floating around, even when everybody is drinking, dancing, and having a good time with the party vibes. Emma (Myha'la Herrold) has brought her new boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace) to the party and this is pissing off the pensive David (Pete Davidson). Alice (Rachel Sennott) tries to promote her podcast but you can tell nobody digs her creative project. Tensions mount until fights break out and everybody tries to cool off. During this cool-off period, one of them turns up dead, slashed across the throat. Who could be behind such a murder? Who would have the most to gain?
In a few ways, this film could be viewed as a modern and comedic take on murder mysteries. We have an ensemble that are all wealthy people with insecurities that turn vicious but the insecurities seem pettier than mere inheritance squabbles or love affairs. These are people who don’t want to admit to being middle class or that they have a mental disorder. They don’t want their pristine image ruined by the truth, choosing to cover themselves in lies. Those lies may hide a murder. Or maybe they don’t. After some time, the murders seem almost secondary to maintaining a certain social personality that much be maintained at all times and to a high degree.
The film is incredibly funny in its own dark way. At times, it’s easy to laugh at someone stressing out about their podcast not having any listeners or stumbling to become a progressive ally. The film shows us these elements to laugh at but also feels a twinge of relatability. When your life feels so comfy, revealing that your parents aren’t that wealthy or that you’re not all that honest about your family can feel like the end of the world. It makes this situation of being trapped in a house with no phone coverage, no means of escape, and no power all the more terrifying when forced to confront yourself amid other people trying to put up the same barriers. It’s also a lot of fun to just watch these victims squabble about such absurd concerns.
Bodies Bodies Bodies offers a bit more to laugh at than just Gen-Z satire. There’s a certain amount of knowingness that comes with this staging that makes the generational divide as poignant as it is topical. There’s a brilliant moment towards the end of the picture where Gen-Xer confronts the surviving Gen-Z and tries to ask what happened. How can one generation possibly hope to explain to the past generation just how rocky and overwhelming life has become? Moments like that make this ridiculous horror comedy more meaningful than just the what-if scenario of Gen-Z being without phones.