Bodies, Bodies, Bodies!
What a film.
More hysterical thriller than slasher horror flick, Bodies Bodies Bodies encapsulates the essence of a 2022 horror comedy. The characters, drama, and dialogue are all very to the times (Gen Z-ish), but not in a cringey or depthless way, a trap that so many recent Netflix originals fall into the trap of.
A friend and I sat towards the right back of the theater, right next to the exit. No one ever closed the door, so we could hear what was playing in the theater next door. The same trailers we had just watched were gabbing over the beginning of our movie.
Opening with a visceral, personal, and almost uncomfortably intimate make out sesh between the protagonist Sophie and her girlfriend Bee, the garish green grass made for the backdrop of Sophie telling Bee I love you for the first time. Followed by Bee’s silence and Sophie’s quick assurance and apology, you don’t have to say it back. A highly-saturated color palette. The wheels going screech! after a tender, vulnerable utteration. We’re only two minutes in.
Everything from the internet-age dance and hyperpop soundtrack, to the dive right in to the meatball-tangled-in-spaghetti, saucy messiness of relationships, to the neighboring theater noise, made you buckle down for the ride, sensing you needed your seatbelt clipped in, since you’re sitting in the backseat, while the driver swerves back and forth, up front.
The I love you scene cuts directly to Bee and Sophie typing away at their own phones, facing each other, but occupied. My friend Debby said she could relate; this really spoke to our generation.
The following events are the result of a group of friends with a lot of loaded, shoved down history, being “bored in the house, in the house bored.”
The tension of this strange amalgamation of people is felt quite immediately.
As soon as we enter the house, there’s a lot of toxic energy: friends whispering behind each other’s backs, weird exchanged looks, threats, warnings.
They start to play Bodies Bodies Bodies, a game that always brings out the worst, bubbles of hidden drama burbling up to the surface. It starts with each person taking a shot and a slap to the face, to commence each new round. The game is a bit like mafia and among us: one person is the killer, and everyone else is trying to figure out who that killer is. All the lights go out each night, and it’s everyone for themselves as the killer lurks for its next victim. Upon stumbling upon a dead body, you scream BODIES BODIES BODIES! and congregate to theorize about the killer’s identity. Who to trust? What are the features that you’re bringing to the table, and how can they be used to your advantage, or leveraged against others?
Immediately, if we couldn’t already tell, the game makes it clear that these friends all seem to hate each other. As soon as the girls find David’s throat slit, his blood-gushing body soaking in a puddle, as the storm pours and pours, the hysterics begin. Everyone is on defense and offense; accusations, alliances, and betrayal all around. In this game (the make believe and real one), feelings are facts. Emotions are running high, and no one will be too afraid to let their own, or someone else’s skeletons out of the closet. And it’s all the more complicated due to “the suffocating weight of their shared history.”
It all starts to get scary when the line between joke and serious, game / real, blurs. Misunderstandings build into tension, then into violence. When the girls go to confront Greg, the only person in the house who wasn’t with David when they found his body, he exclaims “Oh, you guys are fucking with me!” recycling the joke he was just the butt of into his own line. When Bee ends up taking a dumbbell to Greg’s head to protect Sophie, that’s when the bodies really start to fall to the floor.
I won’t spoil more, but some of the funniest lines / moments:
- Jordan hate listening to Alice’s podcast
- Google calendars
- Alice defending Greg, the biggest unknown, who she’s known for “long, like long” (2 weeks): “He’s a libra moon, that says a lot!”
- Greg’s light therapy mask for seasonal depression
- The gang mistaking Greg’s occupation as “vet,” to mean ex-military personnel, when he’s really a veterinarian
- Jordan’s poor (upper-middle class) parents who teach at a public university
Now whenever I use my phone flashlight, I’ll have to hope that my body body body! doesn’t end up in a heap in a mansion during a hurricane.
image credits: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/08/bodies-bodies-bodies-had-to-end-that-way-says-director-halina-reijn