It must be quite a shock to the system whenever someone describes a horror film as deliriously fun. Yet for fans of the genre, there’s nothing better than diving into something that can be described as such. Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies fits into that category with flying colors (literally). Equal parts slasher-horror and flatt-out comedy, the two blend effortlessly thanks to the stylish flair seeping throughout the film and its wonderful cast. With a complete commitment to this murder mystery set in a mega mansion in the woods, Bodies Bodies Bodies will have you laughing hysterically, just until the film’s next victim is stumbled upon.
Reijn and writer Sarah DeLappe quickly set the events of the film into motion, as we are introduced to Sophie and Bee. They’re very fresh into their new relationship, and what better way to further it than by spending some time with a group of friends? They’re showing up late, and possibly a bit uninvited, to a party meant to distract from the upcoming hurricane. Like clockwork, the crack of thunder mixes with the clink of bottles and drinks being toasted. But of course, no party is without its games. The group decide it’s time to play their favorite one: Bodies Bodies Bodies. And within minutes, the murder mystery begins as the first real body is discovered. Filling the viewer with the same tension and paranoia any game of Manhunt brings out, the film is able to quickly turn any and all suspicions inside out in rapid succession. And part of it surely has something to do with the fact that all the survivors are throwing baseless accusations onset by drugs and alcohol. With every character having just enough suspicious characteristics to go alongside these accusations, Bodies Bodies Bodies is able to trap you alongside the survivors as tensions rise to a boiling point.
With the power out, the glow of iPhones, lanterns, and glow sticks are all that separate the group from total darkness. It’s utilized so effectively, adding a neon tinge or frighteningly barren light source depending on the mood of a scene. It seems as if Reijn is able to consistently capitalize on mise en scène for a litany of emotions, sometimes all within one take, ranging from comic punchlines to a vicious assault on the senses. As fingers start being pointed at one another, raw truths begin coming out that seemingly have nothing to do with the murders occurring around them. Rising tensions lead to explosions of honesty, which is very clearly in low demand among these so-called friends. As the Gen Z criticisms come to light through the screenplay of this film, the cast is able to capitalize on core values that elevate the material to something more than just blanket statements.
Star Myha’la Herrold was quick to point out the authenticity she felt when filming. “There was never a moment of it that didn’t feel like listening to somebody my age speak. That’s hard to do and really exciting to read as an actor”. Every performer in this has their moment to shine as a charismatic star, but also one to wade through the murkiness of hurling vitriol at one another. It’s a fascinating dynamic switch that amps the stress of the setting all the way up, as the audience never knows when somebody will snap. Also noting how the writing felt true to her generation, the acclaimed Rachel Sennott is a highlight in this regard. Without being too mean-spirited, it’s most clear in her character Alice that these are meant to be caricatures of specific individuals in a Gen Z society. There’s clearly a deep understanding of what sort of film this was meant to be, and Sennott, as well as the rest of the cast, soars with the fun, razor-sharp script through all its comedic twists and cocaine-fueled turns.
For a film that drenches its lead cast in blood, mud, and endless rain, Bodies Bodies Bodies remains committed to its fun, natural delivery. Yes, there are moments that will have audiences jump in fear. And of course, no slasher film would be complete without some gnarly violence. But Reijn knows what fans of genre films like these crave, and showers the viewer with these desires, yet never sacrifices the quality or impact of the film as a whole. It’s certainly a balancing act, but all involved appear to have pulled it off with ease. Bodies Bodies Bodies is a prime example of genre filmmaking done not only out of a passion for the craft, but wanting a to spread a concise message about the world it is being made in. The fact that it will end up being one of the most entertaining films of the year on top of it all is just icing on the party’s marijuana-laced cake.
A24 is releasing Bodies Bodies Bodies in select theaters on August 5th, 2022. It is releasing nationwide August 12th, 2022.