By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Photos: A24 Films LLC
The following review may contain mild spoilers
There is a particular horror hype when it comes to A24, which has given us chillers like Hereditary, Ex Machina, and Midsommar, to name a few. Bodies Bodies Bodies does do the trick of creeping under your skin, but it goes beyond the jump scares and mounting suspicions among friends – very true to A24 style. On the surface, it looks like a 20-something Gen Z horror flick. Still, the brilliant cast and director Hailan Reijn’s vision creates a new twist that explores the darker (and involuntarily funny) traits of our youngest generation.
The setup is classic horror: a group of young people are stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane, they decide to play a harmless murder-in-the-dark party game which goes deadly wrong, and now they have to find out who the killer among them is. Fueled by plenty of alcohol and drugs and by the lights of their phone flashlights, the group roams through the mansion to find the killer, only to see the body count and internal conflicts rise. The twist here is that no one makes good decisions, making everyone quite annoying, which makes the fumbling quest through the house and climbing body count an oddly fun watch.
Things immediately become uncomfortable as Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), who recently did a stint in rehab, introduces her very new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) to her group of privileged friends: longtime bestie David (Pete Davidson), David’s girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), the strong-minded Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), the bit much podcastress Alice (Rachel Sennott), and her latest (and somewhat older) catch from the dating apps, Greg (Lee Pace). Newcomer Bee (and the audience) rapidly notice that things are way off in the friend’s group, and it doesn’t take long for old conflicts and skeletons in the closet to come to light, turning this reunion ugly. Once actual bodies are thrown into the mix, things spiral out of control in true whodunnit style.
It is in the mix of the whodunnit of it all that things turn comical, revealing the real strength of this movie. It brings a certain freshness to the genre that all conflict and drama is hinged on social media buzzwords of today. A discussion becomes gaslighting, a phrase is triggering, an argument is silencing, while everybody is just longing for their own safe space. Even during the most dramatic life-or-death moments, the characters barely ease the grasp of their phones. The whole group proves themselves rather incompetent to deal with issues without amplifying them through what social media has taught them and making them all-defining character traits. The grating narcissism – best portrayed by Alice (Rachel Sennott) – makes it desperate and hilarious to watch.
So why should you watch a dark comedy horror movie about terrible Gen Zers? Well, for starters, it’s exceptionally well-made. The pace is excellent, the cast is brilliant, and the screenplay is ‘hilar.’ Plus, in true A24 fashion, twists and turns flip the script quite a few times, including the last gruesome and hilarious moments of the film that reveal the real killer.