A classic Agatha Christie setup pitches an unwelcome detective into the midst of a murder spree, calamitous as it is confined. For Rian Johnson, this meant an eccentric Southerner irking a wealthy family full of snakes in
It was supposed to be the perfect getaway to wait out a summer storm. Far from the pressures of city life and parents, a batch of rich, carefree, and drug-fueled twenty-somethings convene in a sprawling mansion to throw an epic hurricane party. However, the raging rain outside proves the least of their problems when a grim party game turns to real bloodshed. As the bodies hit the floor, the remaining players must play detective to survive the night. But with all the brewing resentments, jealousies, and dark secrets between them, the quest to uncover the killer is frequently — and hilariously — derailed.
A pitch-perfect cast makes Bodies Bodies Bodies a savage romp.
Credit: Gwen Capistran
A crackling script from Sarah DeLappe and Kristen Roupenian (yes, the
Like the Christie novels of culture clashes and affluent assholes, Bodies Bodies Bodies thrusts a working-class heroine into the pack of wolfish wealthy folk. Playing a blue-collar wallflower named Bee is Maria Bakalova, who earned an Academy Award nomination for playing Borat’s recently uncaged daughter in
Leading the crew of cool kids is hurricane party host Max, played by tabloid king/SNL comedian
Rachel Sennott and Lee Pace win Bodies Bodies Bodies.
Credit: Gwen Capistran
Sennott had critics swooning with her sizzling performance as a chaotic bisexual sugar baby in the 2020 cringe-comedy
Then there’s Greg, who sticks out by being twice the age of everyone else at this party. Naturally, when a body turns up, the childhood friends eye the old guy, no matter how sexy he is. And who better to play a chaotic Gen X crush than Lee Pace? Onscreen, he wooed us sweetly in Pushing Daisies, made us swoon for his broody lover in The Fall, and had us in awe of his Elven beauty in The Lord of the Rings. Offscreen, he’s become
Bodies Bodies Bodies is more funny than frightening.
Credit: Erik Chakeen
And I’m not mad at that. While it’s being marketed as a Gen-Z slasher, it quickly breaks from this concept, being less about fleeing the killer and more about unmasking them. There won’t be POV shots from a murderer’s eye. There won’t be Halloween-like shots of surprise stalking or grisly slaughter. The killings mostly happen offscreen. Instead, the spectacle and suspense come from the dramatic collisions between the survivors.
Accusations and justifications peppered with social justice buzzwords are fired off with devilish precision: “You trigger me!” “You’re always gaslighting me!” “I’m an ally!” These proclamations, which are bandied about the internet with decreasing discretion, take the idea of playing the victim to the next level as the dwindling number of survivors grow more and more desperate to avoid being suspects, being murdered, or being cancelled in equal amounts. Playing the victim is how you win this game and maybe how you avoid being next.
These scenes are shot with a handheld camera and lit by a medley of flashlights, cell phones, and glow sticks. Breathing uneasy energy into every frame, the clever cinematography enhances every panicked proclamation, building to a climax that is as wildly entertaining as it is violent and irreverent. It ends not in a haunting promise of a slasher sequel, but a punchline that sparks dark laughs from the audience.
Though Gen Z is sent up for mockery and slaughter in Bodies Bodies Bodies, Reijn’s film is not dismissive of them. Like Amy Heckerling’s
The result is a raucous romp that balances suspense with savage humor, making Bodies Bodies Bodies a summer essential.
Bodies Bodies Bodies opens in theaters Aug. 5.