Bodies Bodies Bodies

The game Bodies Bodies Bodies has certainly evolved since I played it when I was younger. The movie is about a group of obviously rich twentysomethings that gather together for a hurricane party at a lavish estate. The two characters we first meet are Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova), who are evidently a new-ish couple. The pair bring us on to scene after a lengthy gratuitous kiss that sets us up for an exciting night.

We spend some time getting to know the other characters by way of introducing Bee to the group. The house belongs to David’s (Pete Davidson) parents, so he’s essentially the host, and Sophie’s best friend. Cue the division when David’s girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) is annoyed by Sophie’s unannounced arrival. The sentiments are echoed by the group, and other little jabs are thrown as we learn more about the characters. Eventually everyone starts to party with the usual drugs and alcohol as the impending storm moves in.

What a perfect time to play Bodies Bodies Bodies. Everyone draws a piece of paper and whoever gets the paper with an “X” is the “killer.” They tag people out and others have to guess who the killer is. For some reason, their version also involves slapping one another upfront – what? Anyway, the mood quickly sours when the power goes out (including the wi-fi) and one of them actually shows up dead. From this point on, somehow everyone has blood on their faces, neatly smeared and splattered by hair and makeup. It’s distracting and highlighted by the use of their phones as both flashlights and spotlights. I kept hoping the screen that was on and facing them (to illuminate their faces?) would be something director Halina Reijn would show us. Kind of a Blair Witch selfie effect.

What happens next is a hilarious whodunit mystery with lots of knives in backs. No one seems to trust anyone’s innocence, exposing hidden secrets and true feelings to point blame. The ensemble expertly feeds off one another. Each character seems authentically drawn to drama and self-destruction when they aren’t hiding behind their devices. Here is where Rachel Sennott stands out as Alice. She is hysterical with her happy naivety and switching of loyalties, not to mention she has brought her 40 year old boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace) to the party. Alice is genuine as she’s pointing out the absurdity of their generation’s behavior. She delivers the best lines, and she does so convincingly, without missing a beat.

What BodiesX3 is missing is more of the build up of fear/anxiety. There are scenes that needed a sound team or a soundtrack. I lost the feeling of the storm when the rain and wind were silent, and I don’t remember a creaky floor or like anything heard in the distance to give us pause. In that sense, or lack thereof, it didn’t feel much like a slasher movie. The dark humor is the star, the kind that makes you feel bad for laughing. A lot of time is spent poking fun at Gen-Z in general, and it comes in fast with cliché commentary we expect. You know, the borderline toxic, gaslighting kind of woke vibe that might just trigger someone, or spawn an ally outside of the group chat. Yes, you’ll hear it all, and more.

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