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Bodies Bodies Bodies - Film Review

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by Nicholas Gordon (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Sydney.
Published September 14th 2022
A murder game gets real in a Gen Z slasher-comedy
An impending hurricane is the excuse for the party which kicks off director Halina Reijin's slasher-comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies. The party is being hosted by 20-something rich kid David (Pete Davidson) who has invited the rest of his similarly privileged 20-something friends to a 'hurricane party' at his parent's spectacularly ostentatious country mansion. But what's meant to be a weekend of good vibes only soon turns grim when a murder game leads to an actual slaying.

But that's not for a while. And the opening scenes are quite pleasant as they follow David's best friend Sophie (Amandla Stenburg) who is bringing her new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalove) to the party. When the couple arrives, Bee immediately stands out; she's obviously not from privilege, unlike the rest of the guests, which include David's self-absorbed actress girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), an airheaded podcaster named Alice (Rachel Sennott), and Sophie's ex-girlfriend Jordan (Myha'la Herrold). But as with Bee, interloper vibes are given off by Alice's new boyfriend Greg (played by Lee Pace), who appears to be double the age of everyone else at the gathering.

A lot of drinking, drug-taking and dancing follows and the weekend is going pretty well save for some low-key hostility towards outsider Bee and some mindless provocation from David directed at the much-older Greg. But this all seems resolved by the time it's decided that the group will play Bodies Bodies Bodies, a murder-in-the-dark style party game. The game soon turns to reality when an actual body turns up just as the hurricane is blowing in. The power and wi-fi are soon cut, leaving nothing but Day-Glo bracelets and iPhone screens to light the way as terror suddenly lurks around every door of the mansion.

Although billed as a horror movie, Bodies doesn't really fit the genre, more resembling parody slashers like Scream. But Bodies aims a bit higher, thanks to its gentle ribbing of Gen Z culture. Wokeness, materialism, class and even podcasts are all given a prod in the clever script, delivered by characters fuzzily lit by the glow of their smartphones. The plot twists and turns recede in importance after a while as the character's backstories are revealed in greater depth largely thanks to the spewing of often very funny insults at each other.

Bodies wants to do to slasher-comedy what Knives Out did to the Agatha Christie-style, drawing-room whodunnit. Not only make it fun and fresh, but saddle it up with plenty of satire about the absurdities of our modern age. Bodies might not prove to be as slick and successful and as lucrative as Knives Out was, but it tries hard. And for a bit of silly fun, you could do a lot worse.

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*Nicholas Gordon was invited as a guest
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Why? For a slasher comedy.
When: In cinemas September 15
Where: Cinemas nationally
Cost: Varies
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