If you have ever wanted to watch a film about a group of wealthy millennials essentially playing real-life Among Us, then “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is the film for you. Directed by Halina Reijn, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is the newest A24 film, released on Aug. 5, 2022. The film has a strong ensemble cast including Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace and Pete Davidson.
The story of “Bodies Bodies Bodies” follows a hurricane party hosted by David (Davidson). Attending the party is his actress girlfriend Emma (Wonders), David’s childhood best friend Sophie (Stenberg), Sophie’s new girlfriend Bee (Bakalova), podcaster Alice (Sennott), her older boyfriend Greg (Pace) and their friend Jordan (Herrold). The group of seven are having a good time partying until Bodies Bodies Bodies, a game which has similar rules to the hit video game Among Us, goes wrong when they find David with his throat slit. What follows is a murder mystery as the characters navigate relationships and survival in an equally dramatic fashion.
To start off with the positives of “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” the cast has great chemistry with each other. From the beginning of the film, the group’s natural interactions make it feels like they have been friends for years. Bee and Greg, characters that are new to the group, are reflected in their performances, as Bee is quite reserved while Greg overcompensates by showing off at every opportunity. Furthermore, Davidson and Stenberg bounce off each other well, and it is refreshing to see a male-female best friend relationship depicted on screen. Pace is also a great addition to the cast as he realistically portrays a 40-something man trying to fit in with a group of millennials.
Another part of “Bodies Bodies Bodies” that works well is its setting. The entire film, save for the opening scene, takes place in David’s parents’ mansion. The film takes the time to establish the house well, from the ominous pool to the claustrophobic bedrooms. The fact that the murders take place in a hurricane at night also adds to the creepy factor, as the outside world is understandably terrifying to the characters.
However, while the film does a good job of setting up the characters and setting, it falls apart in the second half. About two-thirds of the way through the film, there is a long scene of four characters talking about their feelings and past with each other. During this scene, it becomes clear that pretty much all of the characters are horrible people, making it hard to root for any of them. If anything, the scene revealed a little too much about these characters, when it would have been better to leave some of the mystery up to the audience’s imagination. It is a great example of the old adage of “show, don’t tell,” as telling the audience the backstory of all the characters at once feels contrived and draws away from the actual plotline.
Another problem with the film is its genre. IMDb lists “Bodies Bodies Bodies” as a horror and comedy film, but it is neither that funny nor scary. Davidson gets a few laughs, but a lot of his jokes fall flat. Sennott also adds some humor to the film, but it would be difficult to call this film a comedy as it has maybe three good jokes in it. Furthermore, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is not really that scary, and lacks the sheer terror that truly great horror films have. Perhaps rebranding the film as a pure mystery would better attract audiences as the comedy and horror tags feel almost like false advertising.
An additional issue with the film is that the ending is bizarre at best and laughable at worst. The film ends by revealing how David died, which is important because his death started off the night of murder and chaos. His cause of death is surprising, but not in a good way, because it makes him seem like a complete idiot. Likewise, characters make a lot of dumb decisions throughout the film, such as splitting up when they believe a murderer to be on the loose. A lot of horror films fall victim to this, but it is especially annoying in “Bodies Bodies Bodies” because all of the characters are incompetent and frustrating to watch.
On the whole, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is an okay film. The highlights are the worldbuilding of the characters and setting, with particular emphasis on the chemistry of the cast. On the other hand, the film struggles with fitting within the genre bounds of horror and comedy, making its characters likable and having a satisfying ending. I would not recommend going to see “Bodies Bodies Bodies” in theaters, but it is probably worth watching on a streaming service to laugh at with some friends.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars