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MOVIES: Bodies Bodies Bodies - Review

Bodies Bodies Bodies bills itself as a gen-z satire. In that; it very much is – a lightning bolt, decisively accurate representation of many of the typical gen-z archetype characters. It’s a commentary on folk who are terminally online - always checked into social media – one of the characters’ last words are telling those who witness her death to “check her texts”, and the film also somehow manages to operate as an advert for an iPhone battery – where it somehow manages to survive the whole night with the flashlight on; in a rare act of miracles. Unfortunately, that is one of the few rare act of miracles in Bodies Bodies Bodies, as it was largely underwhelming as a typical slasher – if you want something more in the more traditional slasher mould, you’re better off staying at home and watching Scream instead - any entry – young rich people killing themselves was a subject I found hard to care about – whereas every entry of that franchise has something at the very least entertaining going on.

Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies very much does not. Instead – it feels like the writers came up with a great premise for the film – putting a group of mid 20 somethings in a house together with a cast of recognisable actors and offing them one by one – but the script was somewhat lacking; not as clever as it sets out to be – and as a satire it very much fails. Yes you understand that you are a satire – but it’s never anywhere near as biting or as creative as say, the one that everyone references - Blazing Saddles - or even another film that’s currently out in cinemas at the moment, Official Competition, which has its own issues but is a far more accomplished film. Bodies Bodies Bodies forgets to be exciting and despite the set-up and the promising claustrophobic atmosphere created in the film that captures the dark night of terror that’s about to unleash, it falls short at the final hurdle; held together by creative light sources that plunge you into the dark and watch the characters fumble awkwardly about a massive house trying not to get killed. Part of that is due to Jasper Wolf as the cinematographer who creates some memorable shots and maximises the potential of illuminated-by-iPhone-torchlight; but then if you’ve seen his work on the fantastic Monos you won’t be surprised – Wolfe is one of the most talented cinematographers around right now. Reijn’s direction is fearless and bold in its restraint; and the director recognises the talent that she has to work with and lets them act their heart out.

Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrorld, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace and Pete Davidson, chances are you’ll recognise most of these names - its an assembly of talented actors of their generation. The highlight of the entire film is Sennott in delightful form as ever, bringing the sense of paranoia that she captured in the wonderful Shiva Baby to this film in an exaggerated personality that really amps up the self-inflated ego of her character to eleven – and Maria Bakalova is able to bring more nuance and depth to her character Bee as one of the most interesting protagonists in the movie; clearly – there’s a lot of depth behind some of these characters that I would have loved to have seen explored in more detail but the film keeps things rather light on paper with character development; relying on the actors to get the best out of their performances. One of the characters is barely given material to work with other than that she’s an “actor” – but it’s a casualty of the film’s short length which it barely manages to fill.

The core concept of the film revolves around a game called Bodies Bodies Bodies – where the players involved in the game have to pretend to kill the others if they’re chosen as the killer – and it quickly turns deadly – but I kept waiting for a final act that never fully came. Instead; Bodies Bodies Bodies feels content to go out on a whimper and never really maximise its full potential – which is a crying shame, as all the right ingredients were here for a slasher, yet it’s the second time I’ve been let down by a horror film distributed – and in this case also produced – by A24 this year. It’s been a great year for the genre – but Bodies Bodies Bodies and X haven’t been the shining examples that I hoped they would; with this film leaning much more into the soapier territory for a rather underwhelming affair.

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