bodies bodies bodies2022.
Directed by Halina Reyn.
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace and Pete Davidson.
Chaos and bloodshed ripple through a group of teens when a board game during a hurricane turns nasty.
It’s easy to laugh at Gen Z. They’re at the epicenter of the social justice movement and associated terminology, which frequently transforms people like Piers Morgan into mindless, raging raging beasts—well, more so than they already are. A24’s new horror movie bodies bodies bodies occupies a very strange position, taking aim at the insecurities and absurdities of these young people, at the same time as trying to attract them in a way that occasionally pays off, but often really irritates.
The film is the English-language debut of Dutch filmmaker Halina Reijn, with the screenplay by Sarah DeLappe from an original story by Kristen Roupenian, author of the infamous internet short story. cat person. It follows a group of privileged young people who gather for a “hurricane party” at a secluded mansion owned by David’s (Pete Davidson) family. When the power goes out, they decide to play a game of “Bodies Bodies Bodies”, similar to something like Werewolf or Wink Murder, only for it to go south when it turns out people really are dying.
There is an intriguing energy in the opening act of bodies bodies bodies, featuring this array of colorful characters while lightly probing possible divisions in the group. Our entry point as an audience is Maria Bakalova, the rising star of the borat sequel, as Bee, who has been invited by her girlfriend Sophie (Amandla Stenberg). They introduce her to David, as well as his girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), his friend Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), podcaster Alice (Rachel Sennott), and her older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace).
Given the relatively tight runtime, it’s impressive that DeLappe’s script finds so much room to establish the dynamics and personalities at play in this social circle. Admittedly, the characters are pretty broad caricatures, but their relationships and insecurities feel real. The film is aided by a uniformly excellent set of performances, with Amandla Stenberg continuing her rise to reliable leading lady status alongside Rachel Sennott bringing a whole new facet of comedic flair to her performance in last year’s excellent film. Shiva baby. Bakalova also excels in a much more direct role than her scene-stealing turn opposite Sacha Baron Cohen.
Problems arise when the film begins to play its wider hand, throwing what it thinks are Generation Z buzzwords as punchlines, then treating important concepts of social justice as if they were frivolous playthings of privileged teenagers. While there is an argument that the word “gaslighting” has lost some of its meaning, that argument isn’t made here when it’s just characters hurling these lines at each other earnestly to the laughter of the audience. If the film has a more nuanced point to make, it gets lost in the noise.
It doesn’t help that the film’s actual stalking and slashing center quickly loses its energy. The palpable tension of the first act – we all recognize that strange party atmosphere that can change at any moment – is soon replaced by a kind of lumbering aimlessly in the dark. By the time the bodies start piling up, it’s becoming more than a little the same. The fact that character deaths occur, of necessity, primarily off-screen also deprives horror fans of the kind of anarchic bloodshed that can perk up even a slightly dull slasher.
The sad result of all this is that by the time bodies bodies bodies comes to a cleverly executed and genuinely surprising conclusion, any tension or intrigue has mostly dissipated. Despite some great performances and some good character work in the first act, it’s ultimately a film that lacks the flair its trailers promised and trades in pretty tired stereotypes about its characters and their worldviews. .
It’s easy to laugh at Generation Z. But they deserve something much sharper than this. That’s why they spend so much time laughing at the rest of us. We just don’t get it.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Tom Beasley is a freelance film journalist and wrestling fan. FOLLOW ME on Twitter via @TomJBeasley for movie opinions, wrestling stuff, and puns.