It’s nearly impossible to claim that a particular film is generation-defining — particularly our complicated generation. But it is just as difficult to claim that Halina Reijn’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is anything but.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies,” a 94-minute horror/comedy film, follows a wealthy group of friends that have become significantly estranged over the years since their adolescence and early adulthood. In the spirit of the toxic digital space of Gen Z, the upper-class friend group — detached from reality — throws a hurricane party in a mansion brimming with cocaine, alcohol, and murder. What is initially thought of as an innocent game in this unspecified location, concerningly resembling the 2020 phenomenon “Among Us,” becomes a night filled with life-changing secrets hitting the surface and an endless stream of bodies hitting the floor.
The film cleverly reveals a horror not only of the wealthy but also within human relationships as a whole. If there is any villain to pinpoint in the film made up by a fearlessly talented crew, it would have to be toxicity: toxic friendships, toxic wealth, toxic influence, toxic love, toxic self-indulgence or even literal chemical toxins.
There is never a moment in the film’s runtime when the audience can ever truly trust what they are seeing on the silver screen. Whether the audience doesn’t believe that the protagonist Sophie truly loves her girlfriend Bee or whether they question if the actress friend Emma ever shows genuine emotions, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” makes clear that relationships in the digital age and its toxic elements are a mystery filled with wonderful tension, comedy, and horror for any artist to explore.
What solidifies the film’s excellent screenwriting and thoughtful directing is its powerful cast. A mere eight actors and actresses, all with distinct knowledge of each character’s nuances and conflicts, make for a brilliant mess to unfold in front of the audience’s eyes.
Amandla Stenberg and Maria Bakalova keep the audience on their toes. The pair presents just enough innocent concerns and questionable quirks. When Bakalova plays the wealthy friend group’s lower-class imposter Bee, she captures her subtle physical habits of vanity by fixing her hair and checking her makeup amid the group’s discovery of dead bodies. Chase Sui Wonders gives an emotionally complex and layered portrayal of Emma, a young woman obsessed with faking feelings for others, which reminisces her work in HBO Max’s recently removed television series “Genera+ion.” Both Myha’la Herrold and Rachel Sennott have some of the best line delivery ever in both a comedy and horror flick. Pete Davidson portrays a jealous man, David, and Lee Pace’s portrayal of Greg proves why David’s jealousy is likely. Pace’s great portrayal makes you defend Greg as confidently as Sennott’s character Alice: “if he says he is a libra moon rising, he would have no reason to murder anyone.”
A film filled with misprision, generation-defining language, and superior indulgence gives way to an incredibly engaging investigation of many aspects of today’s society. It also simply provides an entertaining viewing experience along with Charli XCX’s great movie soundtrack “Hot Girl.” The film does not try to push its genre toward new heights or intricacies. Rather, it makes itself incredibly comfortable in the multiple genres that it finds itself in. Through its quality and intention, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” defends itself against particular criticism of shallowness or hyper-sexualization, suggesting, as the ending says, that we all take a step back from TikTok.
As of the date of this article’s publication, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is screening at Bow Tie Criterion Cinema on 86 Temple St.