At the movies: Bodies Bodies Bodies isn’t a perfect horror/comedy, but it is a fun one – Herald Democrat

2022-08-13 05:58:39 By : Mr. JC Chan

This image released by A24 shows, from left, Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Chase Sui Wonders and Rachel Sennott in a scene from “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” Gwen Capistran A24 via AP

Special to the Herald Democrat

Some of my favorite Far Side comics involve drawings of two places or organizations that should never be next to each other (like individual gatherings of falcons and poodles) with the caption “trouble brewing”. The horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies evokes these wonderful comics by immediately tossing viewers into a social situation that’s clearly just a powder keg ready to go off. Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) has brought her girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) to meet her longtime friends, including Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) and Alice (Rachel Sennott), at a massive house owned by the dad of the obnoxious David (Peter Davidson). Though everyone greets Sophie with open arms, there’s hostility brewing under the surface. Lots and lots of hostility.

As everyone reunites, a hurricane hits the area that forces everyone to get inside. Once there, lines of cocaine get snorted, subtle microaggressions get thrown toward newcomer Bee, and everyone starts playing Bodies Bodies Bodies. This variation on a traditional party game where somebody’s secretly a killer and everyone has to figure out who eventually culminates in somebody winding up murdered. There’s a killer on the loose. All those hostilities won’t stay capped for long under all this pressure. Like Gary Larson once said…”trouble brewing.”

Whoever did the sound design of Bodies Bodies Bodies deserves some kind of medal. Once the power goes out in this house, there’s no A/C or other electronics to make noises on the soundtrack. All we hear is the jangling of bracelets and beads on people’s bodies or feet crunching against the mud. Sarah DeLappe’s screenplay begins with a bunch of rich twenty-somethings partying up in a lavish environment seemingly detached from anything resembling reality. This grimy sound work emphasizing everyday noises effectively brings the Bodies Bodies Bodies characters back to reality. There’s no escape from all this natural hubbub clanging against the deafening emptiness around him.

That’s one of the more interesting ways elements related to class manifest in director Halina Reijn’s filmmaking. It’s a good way to remind viewers of this detail, especially since the sociopolitical commentary of Bodies Bodies Bodies sometimes gets lost in its script. If there’s a primary complaint to be had with this movie, it’s that its second and third acts lose track of seemingly important characters and thematic details. While an ensemble movie like this one will always be shifting around in the perspectives it chronicles, I did find myself yearning for more time exploring Sophie’s point-ofview, for instance, smack dab in the middle of the story. Meanwhile, the commentary on class and exorbitant wealth has only a sporadic presence in the story, committing to these details more could’ve given the proceedings extra bite.

Still, overall, Bodies Bodies Bodies does entertain one for 90 minutes and that means a lot when it comes to this kind of movie. Part of the consistent entertainment comes from nearly everybody on-screen being just…so irredeemably bad. Almost no tragic backstories are here to justify why people act like as do, they’re just messy and often cruel people. Turns out, there’s a lot of fun dark comedy to be wrung about these kinds of individuals navigating an Agatha Christie mystery for the TikTok age. Plus, both DeLappe and Reijn do a good job of making these characters feel and sound like modern-day Generation Z kids without it coming off as grating or straining to be relevant. In other words, they never fall into the “How do you do, fellow kids?” trap.

It doesn’t hurt that Bodies Bodies Bodies serves as a solid showcase for the acting talents of its various leads. The standout of the bunch is handily Rachel Sennott, whose the Roman Roy of the group in how she’s a chatterbox that always just goes along with the group consensus rather than take the trouble of boldly establishing her ideas. It’s an immensely amusing persona that Sennott delivers with comedic franticness that’s worlds away from her lead role in Shiva Baby. What a transformative performer! Maria Bakalova also does strong work as something resembling an audience point-of-view character in all this neon-colored mayhem while Pete Davidson is getting better and better as an actor with each new film he appears in.

Cinematographer Jasper Wolf’s imagination got fired up in thinking up ways to frame all these assorted performers as they navigate a massive house for a killer once the lights go out. Flashlights from cell phones provide the majority of our lighting in Bodies Bodies Bodies, but, impressively, the frame is never incoherently darkened, we always see what we need to see. It’s a fine line to walk, balancing rampant darkness with visual coherency, but Bodies Bodies Bodies manages to deliver. It’s one of several aspects of the movie that’s unique and fun enough to make Bodies Bodies Bodies worth a watch. The script is overstuffed and slasher movie devotees will be able to see some of the twists and turns coming, but there’s enough entertaining chaotic mayhem here to deliver a good time. In other words, let the Bodies Bodies Bodies hit the floor.

A lifelong movie fan and writer, Douglas Laman graduated from UT Dallas and is currently a graduate student at the University of North Texas. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Anna-Melissa Tribune.

This image released by A24 shows, from left, Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson and Rachel Sennott in a scene from “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” Eric Chakeen A24 via AP

This image released by A24 shows Rachel Sennott, left, and Lee Pace in a scene from “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” Gwen Capistran A24 via AP