When a storm is approaching, the smart thing to do is to stay inside and make sure that you’re adequately prepared. For some, that means being well-stocked with party supplies, to ensure that the action outside is matched by excitement and excess inside. But focusing too much on lavish pleasures can get in the way of ensuring safety, and playing frivolous games can turn into something much more dangerous and deadly. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies plays into the vulnerabilities of its complex and flawed characters as they endure a precarious night in a large, dark house with a hurricane raging and making escape impossible.
This horror film brings together a group of friends and new significant others for a misadventure that contains just as much interpersonal drama as it does lingering terror over which of them will be next to die. Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) surprises the group by actually showing up, with her new girlfriend, the quiet Bee (Maria Bakalova), in tow. Alice (Rachel Sennott) has also brought her much older boyfriend, Greg (Lee Pace), whose suave demeanor clashes with that of the host, David (Pete Davidson), who has his own relationship with Emma (Chase Sui Wonders). The only one among them not coupled is Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), who immediately expresses a severe hostility towards Bee.
An ill-advised game of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, where one person is assigned to be the killer and must take out their victim when the lights are turned off before everyone has to deduce who the culprit was, is made all too real when the power goes out and people start to die for real. While the stakes are incredibly high and anyone could be next, there is still an incredible obsession on the part of every character on much more trivial matters that take up just as much space as the hunt for the person who is trying to kill them all.
There are fewer jump scenes than might be expected in this film, which leans into comedy in the absurdity of the conversations its characters have that define their relationships. Questioning how little they know about each other, particularly the outsiders, feels like the kind of work that should have been done before people started dying, but all of them possess degrees of selfishness that prohibit them from seeing the whole picture and being able to coherently process what’s needed to survive the night.
In her English-language feature debut, director Halina Reijn assembles an absolutely terrific cast to make this film as strong and entertaining as possible. Stenberg, Bakalova, and Sennott have also turned in standout film performances that show their talents, and it’s particularly great to see Herrold and Wonders, who have done great work on television in Industry and Genera+ion, respectively, opposite. Davidson has exactly the right demeanor to play this character, while Pace is also a fine choice for his role.
The ninety-five-minute runtime of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies works well, capturing the attention of audiences once the lights first go out and remaining tense and nail-biting until its very end. While its conclusion is somewhat predictable, this film’s strengths don’t rest on how it finishes or even who dies but instead the entertainment offered throughout it. This film can be described as a satire or even just a spotlight on the privileged whose comments make them seem much more vain than they might be and who doom themselves through their own inability to appreciate what they have. It contains plenty of humor and sharp delivery from its entire cast, who provide an excellent opportunity to watch their self-inflicted suffering from the comfort of the edge of a theater seat.
Bodies, Bodies, Bodies opens in select theaters on Friday, August 5th and nationwide on Friday, August 12th.