Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Bodies Bodies Bodies: Gen Z Piles Up the Corpses

The idea of a hurricane party on its own sounds rife with bad karma, but generating ill will is what these twenty-nothings do best. The bad news is viewers will instantly dislike all of these Gen Z/Millennial characters. (The film leans into that, even casting Pete “veteran’s eye patch joke” Davidson.) However, the good news is most of them will be murdered thanks to the And Then There Were None-style premise. You can watch them die without dignity in Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, which opens this Friday in New York.

Everyone is uncomfortable around Sophie, because she went to rehab. She also showed up unannounced at the hurricane party with her new girlfriend, the socially awkward Bee. She is not the only outsider at rich but ineffectual David’s bacchanalia. Alice also brought along forty-year-old himbo, Greg. The rest of the group does not like him, because they think he is a military veteran—this ugly prejudice gets a bit of skewering in the film.

All the old resentments immediately erupt, but they still decide to play “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” a cross between hide-and-seek and
Clue, which inherently stokes distrust and paranoia within the group. Inevitably, a body actually turns up dead, which sets off the first round of finger-pointing and recriminations. It won’t be the last.

Bodies x 3
is often darkly humorous and not infrequently violent, but it is never truly scary, so it is a mistake to bill it as a horror movie. It is more of a hipster riff on Agatha Christie’s incredibly durable formula. It definitely entertains, if you accept it for what it really is, but it never frightens.

Amandla Stenberg, Chase Sui Wonders, and Rachel Sennott all get plenty of laughs as Sophie and her former besties, Emma and Alice. Arguably, Davidson is perfectly cast as the moronic, substance-addled David. However, Maria Bakalova (an Oscar nominee for
Borat) is so mousy as Bee, she bores viewers rather than inspiring sympathy. Yes, she is the obvious “final girl” candidate, but she still needs a tiny speck of personality. In contrast, Myha’la Herrold almost overplays the bile and resentment of Sophie’s jealous ex, Jordan, but the film ultimately needs her over-the-top meltdowns.

To repeat,
Bodies x 3 is funny, not scary. Yet, it arguably captures the attitude and intellectual rigor of Generation Entitlement, which, when you think about it, is in fact, pretty terrifying. Recommended for what it is, not for what it is supposed to be, Bodies Bodies Bodies opens Friday (8/5) in New York, at the AMC Lincoln Square.