With a hurricane approaching, a group of rich 20-somethings , in a remote family mansion, are stocked with food, flashlights, and drugs, ready to party their way through the storm. Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) has brought her new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) to meet her childhood friend, David (Pete Davidson), his girlfriend, Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), and their friends Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) and Alice (Rachel Sennott), who’s brought her older (as in 40-year-old) boyfriend, Greg (Lee Pace). Are you keeping up? Just then, the decision is made to play Bodies Bodies Bodies (it’s like a Gen-Z version of CLUE married the SCREAM franchise and gave birth to Scary Movie). Needless to say the party goes sideways with a hilarious look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one game gone awry. “The game is all about lying to your friends’ faces, looking into their eyes, and completely fabricating this reality that isn’t there. It’s a fascinating mechanism for a social horror movie, being able to play upon this friend group in which everyone’s connections are supposed to be deep and honest despite this complete façade built into the framework of the game,” shares actress Chase Sui Wonders.
Gotta tell ya’ Sarah DeLappe’s screenplay is hilarious! The jokes consistently made about Emma not being stellar in a production of Hedda Gabbler, the all too true facts about folks ‘hate listening’ to podcasts or that ridiculously long WiFi password are gold. The camera work, mostly done in the dark, is impressive, but if I heard these dolls say narcissist or gaslighting one more time it would have been one too many.
This all star cast bring it collectively and individually. Amandla Stenberg is not only gorgeous, but embracing her blonde sensibility with those uneven braids strewn about her skulll is delicious to watch. Maria Bakalova a little more docile of a character since her triumphant Oscar nominated Borat performance illustrates just how much of a badass she is while not skilling a beat hopping around that mansion in Doc Marten-esque footwear. Pete Davidson is well…Pete Davidson with a little more edge than usual and Lee Pace is the hilariously underutilized hippie dippy Tinder date. But I think my favs were Myha’la Herrold’s Jordan, who keeps on the fence wondering if she is cool or a straight up cold blooded murder and Rachel Sennott’s Alice whose comic timing is impeccable.
Not sure if it was the margaritas, but this film flew by in a flash and encouraged me to chortle aloud and enjoy a fresh, fun spin on an old premise. Gotta give major kudos to director Halina Reijn, who perfectly encapsulates the vibe from the acclaimed viral social media short story “Cat Person,” after it appeared in The New Yorker in 2017. Written by Kristen Roupenian, the story recounts the brief relationship between a twenty-something college student and a 34-year-old man who asks her out. An intense text-message relationship blossoms, the duo hooks up, and rejection ensues when my girl realizes her initial impression of told dude doesn’t match his actual personality.
The story tapped into generational anxiety about contemporary dating mores, toxic relationships, and our collective difficulty in balancing reality with online behavior.
As predictable as the film can be in some spots, gotta give kudos to Reijn and her insanely talented all-star cast for making this a wickedly, terrifying, hilarious spin on a premise that clearly had been kept hostage in the 90’s until today. Produced by A24, Bodies Bodies Bodies is in theaters now.