Bodies Bodies Bodies Review

Okay, I was pretty worried about this one.

Bodies Bodies Bodies had all the makings of either an instant classic hilarious horror-comedy… or of an insufferable attempt at unironically overusing Zoomer lingo and culture. The more trailers I saw, the more I was worried it was veering towards the latter, with characters seemingly constantly referring to each other as “toxic” or “gaslighters” or as “silencing” each other. I was quite afraid the entire flick was going to be a “look how stupid Zoomers are and sound, everybody!” showcase.

Fortunately, while the movie isn’t the exceptionally witty thriller I hoped for at its best, it’s nowhere near as intolerable and [yes, I’ll say it] “cringe” as I feared at its worst. The characters are all pretty realistic and multi-faceted, and the dialogue mostly works and feels genuine.

I’ll get into some story details WITH LIGHT SPOILERS (no big reveals!) between images from the flick!

SPOILERS START HERE

The story is, as the trailer suggests, about a gathering of hard partying college kids (though their ages are somewhat nebulous) that gets flipped on its head and sees the claws come out after one of them turns up dead… shortly after their Whodunnit style party games ends in anger and frustration.

The party is made up of the following! Amandla Stenberg is Sophie, the on-the-outskirts friend of the group who has begun living a sober lifestyle. Maria Baklova (from the Borat sequel) is her somewhat new girlfriend, Bee, a girl who is hiding some secrets. She’s also more-or-less the audience’s in character. Hey That Guy That Kanye Was Threatening For A While (Pete Davidson) is David, the jealous, thin-skinned jerk who is hosting the party. His girlfriend is Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), and she has something of a wandering eye for Greg (Lee Pace… wait RONAN THE ACCUSER WAS THAT GUY?), the weird and out-of-place older vet who has very recently started dating Alice. Alice herself (Rachel Sennot) is kind of the group ditz, a podcast host (Hey, movie, WATCH YOURSELF) who flings most of the Zoomer buzzwords about. Myha’la Herrold is the brusque Jordan who is by far the most serious and intimidating of the group. And Conner O’Malley is Max, the friend who is M.I.A. to start the party after a physical altercation with David.

Whew! What a big cast of characters, as any mystery story rightfully needs.

The inciting incident to bring them all together at David’s parents’ home is an incoming hurricane through which the characters basically decide to hunker down and have a storm rager. These are all Sophie’s childhood friends, but after her move towards sobriety, she seems to be a step or two socially snd emotionally removed from them. The movie starts off with a make-out session between Sophie and Bee; Sophie confesses love for her new partner, but Bee does not reciprocate.

After they arrive and the introductions are made, the movie quickly establishes that each character can be sorted into one of three categories: Untrustworthy, Unlikable, or Untrustworthy AND Unlikable. this is a double-edged sword where it might stop you from caring when any of them turn up dead, but it also establishes EVERYONE as equally suspicious. Or “sus” as I bet the characters in the movie would say.

Actually, that brings up a fun point. When the characters explain the rules to the titular Bodies Bodies Bodies game, my wife turned to me and said “Oh, so this is real life Among Us?”. And it IS, and now I want to get my friends together and play that someday.

What else could I possibly say that doesn’t start getting into the big reveals (who is the killer, what is the motivation, who survives, what secrets are divulged, etc) that even in the spoiler section I don’t want to give away? Not much! So let’s invite the fully spoiler-adverse back in and give some thoughts!

SPOILERS OVER

Bodies Bodies Bodies is cleverly written as a Whodunnit, but it fails at being either as scary or as funny as I wanted. I spent ninety percent of the movie in my seat with a feeling of… “This is working for me, and I care, but… am I enjoying it?”. If that makes any sense. It had the feeling of a movie I’d watch once, give a good rating to for its basic effectiveness, and then never feel any need to revisit.

The thing about murder mystery stories, though, is that they so often desperately hinge on their climax when all the pieces come together at last, and that… that is where BBB succeeded. I thought it just fit everything that came before it so damn perfectly. It’s VERY VERY much a conclusion I could see as divisive–if you saw it and say the ending didn’t work for you, I’d completely understand–but for me? Everything felt so deserved as a story.

And for that reason, a decent enough experience turned and had me leaving the cinema feeling much higher overall about what I had just seen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

OVERALL

Pretty strong portrayals all around and an eminently satisfying ending lift up a movie which was simply not as humorous as the trailers and early reviews seemed to promise. Even at its worst, Bodies Bodies Bodies is an engaging mystery.

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