Bodies Bodies Bodies is the story of a wealthy group of friends that come together for a hurricane party at one of their mansions, only for it to take a deadly turn as tempers rise, lies are told, and secrets are exposed. The audience watches from the eyes of outsider Bee (Maria Bakalova), who is dating Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), a founding member of the group. After some “regular” partying with alcohol, weed, and coke, they decide to play Bodies Bodies Bodies, which is essentially the games Werewolf or Mafia. Early on, one of the group members dies suspiciously in real life. Each girl has their own problems with the other, which easily contributes to the constantly switching finger-pointing as to whom the killer might be.
One of the best parts of this film is how balanced the tone is. Satire is such a hard thing to get right, but Bodies Bodies Bodies exceeds expectations. Gen-Z language can get tiring quite easily, but never once did it become annoying, only more hilarious, though the characters were quick to tell each other to shut up. Every actor is so perfect in their roles, as if they were real girls plucked from NYU. Every line of dialogue feels genuine; you could listen to these characters say “toxic,” “triggering,” and any other Gen-Z jargon the script includes all day every day and stay amused.
Although the film claims to be a horror-comedy in its trailer, I find that this is primarily a comedy with thriller elements. I was originally expecting something more half-and-half, so towards the end I was slightly disappointed, but the final scene completely recontextualized the story. I am excited to see how that context will affect a rewatch. Honestly, it was a smart choice to market Bodies Bodies Bodies with more horror considering how well that genre does at the box office and with audiences. The marketing team should do whatever they can to get people in seats, because once the audience is there, they will have a great time.
The standout performances are easily Rachel Sennott and Pete Davidson. It was like Pete was concocted in a lab to be exactly what that role needs. These two got the most laughs in my theater, especially Pete. His actions stem from jealousy over the handsome and kind “zaddy” Greg, portrayed by the perfectly cast Lee Pace. The rest of the cast includes Amandla Stenberg, Chase Sui Wonders, and Myha’la Herrold, all of whom give solid performances as well.
The one person left out is Maria Bakalova, who was unbelievable in her Oscar-nominated breakthrough performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, but is simply alright as Bee, though it is not her fault. She is written to be the audience surrogate, so we learn about the other characters at the same time she does. Her outsider status becomes a problem throughout the film, which should villainize the other girls, but we don’t care about Bee because she is so boring! Bakalova has the skill to be as dedicated and outlandish as the rest of the other girls, but instead she is quiet and uninteresting because that is how the script requires her to be for the majority of the time.
Despite what could seem like a shallow, mindless film, the underlying commentary is genuinely important to this moment in time. As society creates more words to define how we feel, how people act, and has dozens more forms of communication, the content of that communication can lessen in quality, leading to problems and drama which are heightened to the extreme in this film. Although satire is not for everyone, I have to suggest giving this one a try. The runtime flies by, making for a fun and entertaining watch and a perfect ending exclamation point for the summer movie season!
Bodies Bodies Bodies opens in theaters nationwide August 12th.