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Bodies Bodies Bodies ★★★★★



Director: Halina Reijn

Cast: Rachel Sennott, Amandla Stenberg, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson

Release: August 5, 2022 

Not many people will have wondered what an Agatha Christie whodunit might have looked like if it was written by a Gen Z that’s been heavily influenced by the Y2K revival, but Bodies Bodies Bodies provides an answer the world didn’t know it needed. Taking loose structural inspiration from And Then There Were None, Halina Reijn’s vision for the incessant teen soaked in blood and wokeness is refreshingly stealthy in a new framework of cultural currency. A24 is having a killer year for their trademark brand of horror-comedy, and Bodies is no exception. 

Taking place over the course of one evening, loved-up Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and her newcomer girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) make a surprise appearance at David’s (Pete Davidson) impromptu party to see in a local hurricane. With a group of chaotic friends and guests and a questionable Tinder date thrown into the mix, an evening of drinks and party games quickly turns sour. As the guests begin to die one by one, it’s up to the rest of the attendees to figure out who’s to blame before it’s too late. 

A punch to the throat from the get-go, Bodies Bodies Bodies has audiences in a chokehold through pounding hip-hop beats and a cast of alpha females who are awe-strikingly confident in their own identities. Delivering a healthy dose of humour even while the lights are off, the play-by-play revelations of unnecessary gore and trauma are a far cry from the traditional pits and peaks horror has come to be defined by. Audiences have yet to see the genre defined by the people taking up the most cultural capital, and the outcome is a breath of fresh air. 

While the visuals and setting themselves serve stunning white-collar glamour, the narrative drive is powered through by its cast. Rachel Sennott and Amandla Stenberg are the clear standouts, with their first-world podcast struggles and sense of youthful righteousness grating on each other to satisfying effect. Pete Davidson can’t be ruled out either — he might be playing a fictional version of himself, but it’s a damned entertaining portrayal if nothing else. As Sennott’s character Alice rightfully points out, the rowdy bunch have a “suffocating weight of shared history”, hinging on an intermittent WhatsApp chat to bring it to life at all. 

It’s really astounding just how whip-smart Bodies Bodies Bodies actually is. Reijn creates a film that’s so aware of itself, willing to be the butt of the joke while shamelessly masquerading in the trivial wokeness many older generations are quick to ravage. The upper-middle-class reality (and denial of being it) revives the cinematic stereotype of the mean girl, which has an entirely new social lexicon to navigate. Instead of hating on ugly skirts or shaming peers into eating in the toilets alone, this group can weaponise words like ‘gaslighting’ and ‘allyship’ to be the ultimate horrifying means to an end. In a world where superficial cattiness can be exposed at the touch of an app, everyone has the capacity to be the mean girl of nightmares.

Come for the horror, stay for the hilarity — Bodies Bodies Bodies wraps it all up into a Gen Z nightmare that’s painfully true to life. Managing to both examine the woke stereotype and ridicule it, Reijn’s acute sense of intellect steers a possible has-been narrative into a film that stays fresh and in the eye of social discourse. No notes, as the TikTok generation might say. 

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