“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a wonderfully stylized movie that is like Agatha Christie on Tik-Tok using an Instagram filter. In other words, it is a classic ‘murder house mystery’ but done with the hip and up-to-date attitudes of today’s Generation Z age group. It combines some sharp social commentary and a mistaken who-dun-it mystery. Basically it a fascinating melding of “Get Out” meets “Knives Out”. But with much more alcohol, drugs and glow sticks…
There is a big hurricane a-brewin’ and there is Gen-Z aged group who intend to ride the storm out at a huge mansion owned by David (played by Pete Davidson). Actually, it is owned by his parents, but they are away. He and his stupid rich friends are going to live wild and party on as the storm passes. He will be there with his girlfriend Emma (played by Chase Sui Wonders).
Also attending the blow-out party is Jordan (played by Myha’la Herrold), another good friend. Plus there will be Alice (played by Rachel Sennott), who does a podcast, and her new boy pal named Greg (played by Lee Pace). Greg stands out, since he is about ten years older than the rest of them. Oh yeah, Max was there for awhile. But there was a big fight between Max and David, so he left (with the only car at the mansion).
But unknown to the others, and old friend is also coming to party with them. It is Sophie (played by Amandla Stenberg), who goes back with the whole group for years now. She did not respond to the group text, so they did not think she was going to make it. She was in rehab recently, and did not keep up with texts. She is bringing her new love of her now sober life – Bee (played by Maria Bakalova). Bee does not know anyone at this party, and she is not dripping with her parent’s money.
Once at the huge house, they all start to catch up on old times. David and Sophie knew each other going back to grade school. Alice met Greg a few weeks ago and wants to have a hunky new friend around to show him off. Jordan and Sophie used to be a thing, back a few years ago. Alice uses the crazy antics of the group to fuel her podcast. Emma and David are together for what seems like years now. Let the party begin…
After much drinking and dancing and drugging — the group decides to play a weird ‘mystery murderer’ game that they call “Bodies Bodies Bodies”. At random, someone is secretly selected as the ‘murderer’. The lights are turned off, and the fake killer must follow someone around and touch them to make them ‘die’. Everyone else crawls around in the dark, and if they find a ‘dead’ body — they need to call out the name of the game (and/or the movie).
The first round goes a little poorly, since there are many simmering tensions and emotions in the group. Emma storms off, and so do David and then Greg. But before you can say the name of the movie three times — the hurricane hits for real. All the power goes out, and with the smart-phones at hand, the rest of group troops around the large dark halls, hoping to find some of the others.
Bee does find David, but there is a problem. It seems his throat was slashed and he is dead out in the rain on the patio. It’s like they are playing that stupid little game, but now it for REAL!
The tension and suspicion is now off the charts. The drugs and the alcohol are mixing with the adrenalin and with the fear. Everyone is eyeing each other, and before the storm dies down — there will be others in the group who will die before that can happen. The fear and panic are off the map, and the bodies continue to pile up. Sometimes it is in ‘self-defense’ and sometimes it is an accident.
But here is no turning back and no stopping it now. Even if someone has to crawl through a doggie door, there is going to be some way to find out what started this whole thing. But what if the inciting event was mistaken as a murder? What if was a version of somebody attempting to win the “Darwin Award”?
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is distributed by A24, the studio known for quality independent movies, and many of those films are rooted in horror and mystery. This is another Gold Star for them, because this movie is aces all the way. The cast is great in this, and the story goes bonkers just at the right time. The minimal lighting (cell phones and flashlights more than a few glow-sticks) keeps up the suspense and the panic level.
Amandla Stenberg has come far from her first role as Rue in ‘The Hunger Games’, and she continues to impress. Pete Davidson does a very nice job as privileged goof-ball, with more cash than brains. Maria Bakalova is fine as the mysterious ‘outsider’ that the rest of the group does not know. Does she have dark secrets in her past?
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is as the title says – triple your body count when panic and paranoia take over logic and reason. Come for drinking, the dancing, the drugs. Stay for the disasters and the dying.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Directed by: Halina Reijn
Screenplay by: Sarah DeLappe
Story by: Kristen Roupenian
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson
Cinematography: Jasper Wolf
Edited by: Taylor Levy, Julia Bloch
Music by: Disasterpeace
Distributed by: A24
Release date: August 13, 2022 (wide release)
Length: 95 minutes
MPAA rating: R for violence, bloody images, drug use, sexual references and pervasive language
Genre: Black Comedy, Mystery