Bodies Bodies Bodies Review: Horror Delivers Gore With Dose Of Social Commentary

Bodies Bodies Bodies isn’t the typical slasher film. It has a twist ending that alters initial perceptions and subverts expectations. The film, while a horror, has a sense of humor, highly aware of what it’s trying to accomplish, even if some things don’t work. Directed by Halina Reijn from a screenplay by Sarah DeLappe (working from a story by Kristen Roupenian), Bodies Bodies Bodies is filled with great dialogue, an intriguing plot, and social commentary that will surely make for fantastic conversation.

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On the eve of a hurricane, a group of 20-somethings gather for a weekend of fun. Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) — whose stint in rehab led to her estrangement from her friends — and her girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) join David (Pete Davidson), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), and Alice (Rachel Sennott), along with her older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace). As soon as Sophie arrives, however, there is tension. It isn’t long before the audience discovers there is a lot of bitterness and unresolved issues between the friends. When Sophie suggests they all play a game called Bodies Bodies Bodies, things begin to get out of hand. However, when one of the friends is murdered, everyone becomes paranoid and fearful, turning on each other in a bid to discover the killer’s identity.

Related: Bodies Bodies Bodies Ending Explained (In Detail)

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Lee Pace and Pete Davidson in Bodies Bodies Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies is occasionally funny, with the dialogue being more humorous than perhaps intended. It also has a lot to say about everyone being too online, social media culture, toxic masculinity, and crafting a digital identity that is separate from reality. It doesn’t have a lot of deep things to say about these things, but they are embedded in the plot, and laced into the characters’ relationships. The horror film is at its best when it’s exploring the disconnect between the characters, who struggle to even converse with each other. They talk to each other like one might text, half-formulated thoughts and sentences that are no more than a few words. The weekend is meant to bring them together, but there’s something missing, their distance and distraction apparent from the start. It’s not a coincidence they spiral when they lose signal. The digital world drives a wedge between friends who can’t be real with others outside their screens, and they work overtime to convince one another of the lies they want to believe are truths.

Despite the film’s intriguing premise and themes, it sometimes doesn't feel dark enough. The friends are mean-spirited, to be sure, but their words don’t cut as deeply as they could have. There is so much between them, including anger and resentment, but that only bubbles to the surface near the end, with only a couple of the characters fully letting loose, spewing their unfiltered feelings about their friends. Bodies Bodies Bodies doesn’t overstay its welcome, but it would have benefited from a longer set-up before the grisly killings begin happening. By the end, however, the shocking twist will warrant an immediate rewatch because it changes everything witnessed before. The script, paired with Reijn’s direction, work well together to craft a story that reflects the realities of essentially being married to one’s phone.

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Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Myha’la Herrold, and Rachel Sennott in Bodies Bodies Bodies

The cinematography by Jasper Wolf gives the film a sense of foreboding, and the look itself reflects that of someone scrolling through their phone in the dark. Noticeably, a cell phone light is usually the only glow that is shown onscreen, a clever way to keep the overarching themes of the film on display. Bodies Bodies Bodies is not entirely surprising, but it does excel when it's focused more on the character dynamics than the horror elements. The cast's performances — from Stenberg's evasion as Sophie to Sennott's comedic timing as Alice — are excellent, adding to the character relationships in layered ways and elevating the film. The slasher film doesn't box itself in, flourishing when it comes to its social commentary and delivering on the suspense and humor.

Bodies Bodies Bodies released in limited theaters on August 5, expanding to more theaters August 12. The film is 94 minutes long and is rated R for violence, bloody images, drug use, sexual references and pervasive language.

2022-08-15T00:42:10.000Z

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