By Ryan Grant-Khailani, Third Year, History
The directorial debut of Halina Reijn, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, is a recent release of horror powerhouse studio A24. Starring Amandla Stenberg, Pete Davidson and Maria Bakalova, this game night turned deadly and is a great choice for a movie night with friends. In a short ninety-five minutes, the audience watches the chaos unfold unto an unsuspecting group of friends with a twist.
The promotional material released for Bodies Bodies Bodies alludes to the subgenre that the movie aims to parody: the slasher horror movie. Traditional slasher formulae and tropes are experimented with alongside a murder mystery, but before long, this movie pivots from a whodunnit to dissection and satire of toxic friendships in the generation of internet-privileged kids.
The setting strongly lends itself to Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None; friends gather in a mansion, isolated for miles, coming together to celebrate a hurricane. This odd plot point aside, the lights go out quickly, murder begins, and hysteria ensues. This movie could easily be described as goofy, silly, satirising and using language closely associated with Gen Z culture to evoke humour.
The writing in Bodies Bodies Bodies stands out; the dialogue feels authentic in replicating the conversations and interactions of people from a certain demographic – that being party-oriented newly twenty-somethings with substance abuse issues. The dry humour of the film is unexpected, another subversion of a traditional slasher.
A core element of the movie is a disparaging take on the characters in the film, with a clinically brutal dissection of their flawed personalities sustained throughout. The audience is in on the joke: fear becomes funny, suffering becomes humorous. A bizarre juxtaposition of sympathy and glee is created when the characters increasingly cry ‘why is this happening to us?’ whilst becoming more and more unlikeable. The pacing of the movie reveals only a snippet of this group of friends, and the consequent lack of emotional investment allows us to laugh instead of cry at their despair.
These aspects all work together to create a twist ending that was both well-timed and well-disguised. Tension and frustration are manufactured brilliantly at moments created by both the writing and directorship, but admittedly there are moments that do fall short of masterful execution.
Bodies, Bodies, Bodies adds to the corpus of work from A24, continuing a legacy of horror genre subversion. Whilst the movie should be celebrated for experimenting with a modern interpretation of horror subgenres and tropes, it ultimately doesn’t fulfil its promise.
Featured Image: IMDB
Did Bodies Bodies Bodies' biting satire of Gen Z relationships resonate with you?