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Spring Breakers meets Scream in Bodies Bodies Bodies

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Bodies Bodies Bodies screening provided by Sony Pictures

“A deeply funny, acid-tongued horror comedy with a sharply nihilistic palette born out of the current Gen Z moment.” 

In a year where new Scream and Halloween films are churned out to turn fanbase appreciation into ticket sales (don’t even get me started on Jurassic World: Dominion), A24 has surprisingly released a pair of 2022’s best horror films, Ti West’s X, and this film — Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies.

Set during a hurricane party (presumably a thing?) at a lavish family estate in a secluded part of New York, Bodies Bodies Bodies centres on a group of mostly rich 20-somethings that quickly devolves into a Lord of the Flies-esque nightmare. The film captures both the open hearted friendship and naked nihilism of the modern Gen-Z moment in a wildly entertaining horror comedy. 

What allows the film to thrive is the truly note-perfect ensemble cast of modern performers that are all tuned to the frequency of Halina Raijn’s film. A collection of terrific up-and-coming actors that each bring a unique flavour to the film, setting it apart from similar horror films.

We are introduced first to Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee, in Maria Bakalova’s first big break performance since her shock Oscar nomination in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020). Their relationship is new and the trip to Sophie’s friend’s estate is their first together. At the estate we are introduced to David (Pete Davidson), Alice (2020 breakout of Shiva Baby, Rachel Sennott), Jordan (star of HBO’s Industry, Myha’la Herrold), Emma (Chase Sui Wonders from HBO’s Generation), and Greg, played by the indelible Lee Pace.

The plot kicks into high gear once Sophie suggests playing a murder-in-the-dark, crossed with Werewolves game “Bodies Bodies Bodies”, with bloody results. It is a simple setup for a horror indie, one that allows the film’s unique humour and performances to shine through.

By democratising the acting talent across the film with lead performers, no one feels safe within the lavish walls of the estate, and everyone could be the killer. This is undercut, however, by establishing Bee as the point of view for the camera for large portions of the film, so when the accusations come flying her way, the tension in the cinema loosens.

Herrold and Sennott are the real standouts of the film, with their unique energies heightening each scene they’re in whilst also feeling their absences when we focus on the other characters in the ensemble. Herrold’s nervy performance has a tinge of menace (long before she has a knife in her hands), that is just perfect for a high tension horror. 

Sennott’s performance as podcaster Alice, on the other hand, is a comedy performance for the horror ages. She has a naturalism and keen sense of the moment that will make every line delivery feel improvised — a rare skill that is sure to give Sennott a hopefully long career. The actress is sure to blow up further into the mainstream on the upcoming HBO show by The Weeknd and Sam Levinson, The Idol.

The one crazy night, set-in-one-location films have long been an excellent framework for a horror indie, with Bodies being no exception. We move quickly into the meat of the story which, while appreciated for its pace, would’ve been improved with more time spent developing these characters past Gen-Z archetypes.

Bodies is a deeply funny, acid-tongued horror comedy with a sharply nihilistic palette born out of the current Gen Z moment. With a perfect cast of modern actors, the film is able to both comment on and reflect our current moment whilst also maintaining a wonderfully entertaining horror story.

Bodies Bodies Bodies opens nationally from the 15th of September, 2022. 

Contributors

Darcy Read

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