Watching “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” the new Halina Reijn-directed horror comedy film distributed by A24, feels like being trapped in the dark with a group of people who I would normally hate to be around. However, what could easily have been one of the film’s biggest flaws — the actors playing very stereotypical Gen Z-ers with relevant slang featured prominently in the script — is one of its greatest strengths.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is an ensemble act featuring both established names like Amandla Stenberg (“Everything, Everything” and “The Hate U Give”) and comedian Pete Davidson, as well as up-and-comers like Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) and Rachel Sennott (“Shiva Baby”). Thankfully, the actors understand perfectly who this film’s intended audience is. Instead of appearing as a group ridiculing Gen-Z, they appear as part of it, satirizing the generation in numerous funny ways.
As a hurricane approaches the house where the characters are having a getaway, they begin playing a game called “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” where one person is randomly chosen to be the murderer whose goal is to “kill” everyone else by touching them. After a player is touched, they lie down on the ground until someone finds them. When that happens, the person who finds the “dead” player yells “Bodies Bodies Bodies!” and everyone comes together to guess who the murderer is. This is mostly played in the dark and very quickly takes a turn for the worst when the power goes out and one by one, the characters start showing up actually dead.
As more dead bodies continue to emerge, the characters naturally turn against each other. By the end of the film, l questioned how many of them actually liked one another in the first place. This is where “Bodies Bodies Bodies” reveals itself as more than just a simple slasher movie. It finds opportunities to start a discussion on how the digital age has affected our relationships with each other. Under normal circumstances where no one dies, friend groups such as the one in the film often appear to like one another. But in an era characterized by social media, it’s only easier for people to fake interactions and create a false friendly facade.
This is where the character Bee comes in. Played by Bakalova, she functions as the audience in a sense. Quiet and reserved at first, she is an outsider to the group, only being there because of her romantic relationship with Sophie (Stenberg). She lets us see how a stranger might react to the group’s behavior, and as an outsider, she becomes one of the main suspects when the killings start.
Social commentary is never the focus of the film though, and that is not a bad thing at all. “Bodies Bodies Bodies” succeeds in having the feel of an early-2000s teen movie. This, combined with the film being consistently funny with an amazing twist and a soundtrack featuring Charli XCX, Slayyyter and Azealia Banks, makes it an instant cult classic and an updated take on the slasher film for the social media age.