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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

'Bodies Bodies Bodies': Party 'til we drop

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re tagging along with someone and their friend group, but everything suddenly becomes really awkward?

Well, add some murder mystery into the mix and you’ve got “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” This horror-comedy film centers on a group of friends and their romantic partners getting ready to party hard while they wait out a passing storm, but things suddenly go awry.

Even before the bodies start to drop, the tension establishes itself quickly. First, we get the impression that our main characters Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) weren’t necessarily invited through whispers and uncomfortable glances from other characters. The camera work also contributes to a growing sense of discomfort. Even in simple dialogue scenes, the camera rarely stays still. In a weird way, this added anticipation for me; whenever the camera remained still, I knew the other shoe was about to drop.

Back to the story: Party host David (Pete Davidson) gets heated at a children’s party game and storms off. The other shoe I mentioned earlier? It just dropped and so did the first victim. 

Here, the movie shows off its greatest strength: paranoia. The convenient plot device of the storm creates no way to see clearly, no way to escape and no way to call for help — throwing the cast and audience into a panic. With nowhere to go and nothing to lose, the cast attempts to deduce who the killer is, repeating the events that led to David’s departure. With this, the movie starts a vicious cycle that carries the rest of the film’s events: “We have to find the killer” to “We found the killer” to “The killer is dead” to “But what if they weren’t the killer?” This question is ever-present and feeds into the paranoia of the film. As the audience, the only character we rule out as the killer is Bee. Everyone else, even her girlfriend Sophie, is fair game. 

Every performance made for a memorable and distinct character and gave the movie’s death toll an emotional weight. Bakalova was a clear stand-out, embodying both the loneliness felt by being an outsider in the friend group and the growing distrust Bee felt towards everyone as the night progressed. 

I feel that some horror comedies lose the “comedy” after a while, but this movie kept the jokes coming through most of the movie, whether it be during a confrontation (Rachel Sennott’s portrayal of Alice is particularly notable) or through more physical gags like using a dead person’s face to unlock their phone. 

My only major gripe in the film was that some scenes had interchangeable dialogue. Some lines only serve as exposition; any character could be delivering them and not much would be lost. This, however, is made up for with the performances from the stars, imbuing the characters with a personality that the dialogue lacks.

The killer reveal puts the movie in a whole new light and elevates its recurring themes in a clever way that changes the entire film upon rewatching. “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a fun horror comedy that completely reinvents itself in its last minutes. 

If you take anything away from this movie, just be glad most parties don’t end up this way.

Title: “Bodies Bodies Bodies”

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson

Director: Halina Reijn

If you like: “Scream,” “Jennifer’s Body”

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5