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‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Review – a Gen Z whodunit

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Roar writer Ben Lewis reviews “Bodies Bodies Bodies”, a comedy whodunit that smartly satirises Gen Z and its toxic relationship with technology.

Today’s society, and many of its flaws, are intelligently critiqued in Halina Reijn’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies”, a satirical slasher and the latest contribution from A24’s seemingly endless winning streak of wacky and wonderful cinema. The film seemed to arrive at the right time too. In a summer rife with social media horror stories – Felicity Morris’ disturbing documentary “The Tinder Swindler”, and the terrifying revival of radical patriarchy and misogyny from Andrew Tate – “Bodies Bodies Bodies” bordered on being reassuring. Reassuring because Reijn, and ultimately, hopefully, its audiences, do realise how utterly toxic and downright dangerous social media can be.

The film begins with a lesbian couple – Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) – driving to Sophie’s friend David’s (Pete Davidson) lavish country mansion for the weekend, where they and four others – Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), Alice (Rachel Sennott), and Greg (Lee Pace) – plan to booze and sniff their way through a ‘Hurricane Party’. Tensions run high within the group from the moment Sophie arrives, but before long this youthful posse is imbibing, and dancing along to noughties anthems. In a typical moment that makes you go “oh no” even though you’ve seen it a thousand times before, Sophie proposes a game of ‘bodies bodies bodies’; a game that sees one unknown person become a ‘murderer’, their sole aim being to, well, murder everyone else. The lights go off, and for the remainder of the movie, this increasingly spooky labyrinth of a house is lit only by phone flashlights and torches.

In what could be summarised as an extreme session of Chinese Whispers, its basic plot is pellucid; if you’ve come to this movie for a gore-some joyride, then your wishes will be granted. However, there is a subtext that is arguably more terrifying than the film’s conventionally frightening and tense moments. Where I believe the true horror of “Bodies Bodies Bodies” lies, is in its viciously intelligent comment on contemporary adolescence. Albeit irreverently, it addresses in its subtext the present phenomena – or perhaps epidemic – of ‘toxic technology’, and the herculean power – and its consequences – of social media. It is social media that is the true villain in this story. All misfortune the characters experience is unambiguously the fault of social media, as summarised excellently in a high-tension argument towards the end of act two, one that superbly ridicules today’s societies near-schizophrenic obsession with their online persona.

Innovatively lit with iPhone flashlights and other creative practicals, and filmed with a handheld camera just as shaky as its subjects, (all of whom are budding thesps, other than Mr. Davidson), “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is baptised into the rapidly-growing family of independent movies. No, it is not a ground-breaking film, and I predict it will disappear into the infinite void of online streaming once its theatrical run concludes, but it is a film that discusses an important subtext, ultimately providing more evidence as to why new filmmakers should be trusted with the reigns. This is a fun movie, welcome to an array of audiences, and it is a hoot to watch in the cinema.

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is not a mere whodunit, teen-slasher hybrid. It is a dread-inducing, yet mature portrait of contemporary youth and society, and how one mistake can influence and lure out the brainless, macabre panic of those affected. It is a painfully clear metaphor for the phenomenal ways in which social media dominates and influences our lives.

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