Moving from in front of the camera to behind it, Dutch actress-turned director Halina Reijn takes a stab at a social satire slasher with her English-language debut, Bodies Bodies Bodies. Adapted from an original story by Cat Person author Kristen Roupenian, the plot sees Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and her new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) join pals for a hurricane party thrown by David (Pete Davidson) at his family’s mansion. The couple, along with Alice (Rachel Sennott), Greg (Lee Pace), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) and Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), decide to do a murder mystery roleplay, but when quietly held grudges and scandalous secrets bubble to the surface, it takes a very dark turn.
Outspoken, abrasive, and straying towards the obnoxious, the film takes on the divisive attributes of the stereotypical Gen Z culture its poking fun at. The incredibly self-aware script is wrapped around an inventive whodunnit narrative, emulating the neon-pop style and banger-packed soundtrack of Harmony Korine’s controversial Spring Breakers but applying it to a story of entitled brats from the TikTok era; try-hard versions of the filthy rich troubled souls you’d find in a Bret Easton Ellis novel. Their biggest crimes in actual fact are two-facedness, like hate-listening to your bestie’s podcast, but inevitably their friendship circle is swiftly bent out of shape. Savage youth culture commentary aside, Reijn demonstrates a knack for suspense and scares as the plot develops into a survival thriller, consistently finding the sweet spots that combines humour with horror.
An excellent ensemble cast comes together for this intimate, one-location piece, with SNL funnyman Pete Davidson brilliantly playing host to emerging talent from the indie scene. Nearly everyone comes into this off the back of recently acclaimed roles, and they’re all given their fair share of the great moments in this. A tense, hilarious showdown between the characters played by Stenberg, Herrold, and Sennott sticks out as a particular highlight, the performers revelling in the contemporary dialogue with terrific comic timing.
A deliciously damning indictment of the youth of today, Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies is as cutting as it is comical. Guised as fun horror flick, this is an innovative illustration of how a lack of trust, or a clash of personality, can rip apart our paper-thin society. If you’re irked by almost all of the privileged players in this wicked game, the film has understood the assignment.