‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ could be meaner

Photo: A24

Body Body Body is a slasher film that opens with a social situation scarier than any gruesome death. Bee (played by Borat Next Movie star Maria Bakalova) drives with his girlfriend, Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), to a festivities held at the family home of one of his childhood friends. The first warning signs are fast and furious – the relationship is only six weeks old, Sophie is fresh out of rehab and fast with declarations of love, the family home is actually a mansion, the gathering is a hurricane party where everyone will be sealed off by the storm, and none of the attendees have been notified of Sophie’s arrival, let alone bring someone. But what’s really chilling is the line Sophie tosses out as Bee scours the social media accounts of the people she’ll be meeting shortly. “They’re not as nihilistic as they seem on the internet,” she insists.

It’s a threat pretending to be reassuring, although it’s actually a promise that Body Body Body is unable to complete. The film, which was directed by Dutch actor and filmmaker Halina Reijn and written by Sarah DeLappe and Kristen Roupenian (of “Cat Person” fame), is an entertaining affair that yearns for the tag of “savage” without really deserve it. It brings together the hottest ensemble of the year – Stenberg and Bakalova are joined by Pete Davidson, Industryit’s Myha’la Herrold, Lee Pace, Baby Shiva star Rachel Sennott and Chase Sui Wonders – to play a set of rich 20-year-old nightmares (and a 40-year-old Tinder find). But the cast’s appeal can’t change the fact that its members play incredibly soft targets instead of real characters. When the corpses start to pile up, there’s nothing to feel but a slight anticipation as to who will reveal themselves behind the violence, though it’s also hard not to see the final reveal coming.

The house, which is remote while appearing to be within driving distance of New York, is owned by David (Davidson), a coke-snorting bean who Sophie says was her preschool boyfriend before he found out she was gay. David is swaddled in family money, and many other characters have pursuits instead of jobs. David’s temperamental girlfriend, Emma (Marvels), is an actor whose main merit is to appear in a production of Hedda Gabler. Alice (Sennott) hosts a dodgy podcast, when everyone seems to have decided her older boyfriend, Greg (Pace), was in the military, despite their relationship being even newer than Bee and Sophie’s. The on-and-off hostile Jordan (Herrold) prides herself on being the only one of the group of friends who doesn’t come from the money, though in one of the film’s best moments, she mocks herself for being the upper middle class. Bee, on the other hand, works in a video game store, and the social gap between her and the people around her is very noticeable.

But the situation could be more uncomfortable if Bakalova was a bit better; as an audience surrogate, she ends up being the film’s weak point, making Bee intensely internal without doing enough to express his discomfort and desperate desire to be loved. As the untrustworthy Sophie, Stenberg fares much better, shining like the sun and then diverting all that inviting attention. The more information the movie leaks about Sophie, the clearer it becomes that Bee would be smart to put as much distance between her and his girlfriend as possible, but the hurricane ensures that these people have nowhere to go except the rambling corridors of David. cavernous place. Reijn makes the most of the location, strolling through her rooms and hallways after the lights are off to facilitate some party shenanigans, complete with glow-in-the-dark iPhone props and lights and a lantern inside. ancient which all float in the sudden darkness. . But when the storm cuts the power for good and one of them is dead, these people who don’t like each other that much start to turn against each other.

There’s a game the characters play before starting the title one (which is better known as Mafia or Werewolf), and it involves running around in circles and getting slapped by the person to your left before shooting. . It’s a physical recreation of the cruelties they all submit to in the name of having a good time, though the insults – first veiled, then open – they hurl are never as pointed as they should be. . When the revelers rant about how the word gas lighting has been rendered meaningless, or screams about being silenced, or screams about how toxic or ableist someone is, the film doesn’t feel like it’s satirizing its characters’ privilege, or how academic and therapeutic language has crept into everyday language. It just feels like it’s written by Twitter itself, with the characters channeling the dysfunction of modern social media with nothing to delineate them. No wonder it’s hard to care when they start getting killed – that’s a relief more than anything.

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