By Alyssa Borton, Writer
Maybe it’s not about who the murderer is, but the friends we lose along the way.
This is more or less the essence of Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022). Starring Amandla Stenberg and Maria Bakalova, A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies is a refreshingly funny take on the classic high-stakes whodunnit. Think Scream (1996) meets Euphoria meets any reality tv show (in the best way!). This film has it all; from deliciously unlikable characters to out-of-pocket one-liners to artful cinematography, it managed to hold my attention all the way through.
The audience is introduced to Sophie (Stenberg) and Bee (Bakalova), two young women in the honeymoon phase of their relationship. Director Halina Reijn makes the juxtaposition between the two clear from the start: Bee is soft-spoken and modest whilst Sophie is artsy and unapologetic; not to mention insanely rich. Bee’s introversion is only amplified as the rest of the cast is introduced. David (Pete Davidson), Alice (Rachel Sennott), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), and Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) are a group of equally vapid twentysomethings with too much time and money on their hands. Accompanying the group is Greg (Lee Pace), Alice’s much older yet no less vacuous boyfriend. They occupy the mansion and eventual crime scene of this murder mystery.
The environment is hostile from the start. Brimming with unspoken tensions and petty arguments, backdropped against the existential threat of an impending hurricane, something is bound to go awry. And it does—violently. An innocuous party game turns bloody after one of the participants shows up dead. Thus begins a whirlwind of drama, plot twists and secret reveals as the characters hastily try to solve the mystery. The clock is ticking, and each character must grapple with the question, “who’s next?”
Bodies Bodies Bodies judiciously employs satire to point out the grasp internet culture has on younger generations. Retrospectively, it’s the very influence of digital media running the narrative—characters can be seen texting, calling and making Tiktoks leading up to the first murder. Twitter buzzwords are used relentlessly, an onslaught of cleverly placed “gaslight”s and “problematic”s that make you question if it’s okay to laugh. Even once the power cuts and the mansion is flooded with suspense, it’s the brightness of an iPhone flashlight that cuts a path through the darkness. David (Davidson) exclaims, “Gaslight is like one of the most overused words ever, to like the point of annihilation…it doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that, like, you’ve read the internet,”. No spoilers, but if you’ve seen the movie this is a fairly ironic testament to how self-awareness is not guaranteed exclusion from the risks of today’s digital identity.
To quote a song sung in one of the first scenes, “I have! Good friends! We’ll stick together ‘till the end!”. Although this might not ring true for the characters, it’s fair to say that Bodies Bodies Bodies places a spotlight on relationships, selfhood, and class in the digital age. With its darkly funny dialogue and amazing cast, there is no wonder why this horror/comedy/drama has become an instant cult classic. Although the plot drops off a bit near the end, it manages to finish on a strong note. For horror fans looking to try something new (or anyone looking for a good laugh), Bodies Bodies Bodies has my recommendation.