Opinion — Review of “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies”

Andie Balenger, Opinion Editor

With the summer theater season coming to a close, I have taken time to reflect on the many movies I have anticipated and consciously chose to spend money on in the past several months. While a few personal favorites immediately jump out at me, like Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” it seems that I have otherwise spent a majority of my movie theater experience drowning in action/comedies — many of which were abysmal. 

After enduring so many painfully boring or ridiculously drawn-out films, I was in need of something new. Rather than a film with a recycled concept, I wanted something that spoke to me as a 20-year-old, female college student. 

On a whim, I ventured to the Marquette Cinema after unpacking my luggage during the move-in week at NMU. To my great surprise, I stumbled upon what I can confidently deem my movie of the summer: Halina Reijn’s “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies.”

After months spent anticipating new films, including a few disappointing releases from Marvel, I somehow missed the hype train for Reijn’s 95-minute horror/comedy. With a small cast of eight people, including pop-culture icon Pete Davidson, “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” comes from the same company, A24, that delivered one of my favorite horror movies, “Hereditary.” 

After discovering this, I knew I was guaranteed a great theater experience. 

Best described as Gen Z’s whodunit film, “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” puts a spotlight on our protagonist, Bea, as she spends a night with her new girlfriend’s lifelong pals. After an afternoon spent partying, the group decides to play a childhood game where one of the players is a murderer and has to take out all participants before they are ousted. However, after tension between the friend group rises and the power goes out, the party game suddenly becomes their reality. 

What is so great about this film is its relatability. It perfectly encapsulates the playful and almost childish energy that comes with playing a childhood game as an adult. Growing up, my group of friends played an eerily similar game entitled “Mafia,” which nearly follows the same rules as “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies.” This fact, coupled with the main characters in the film being all female, made the film almost nostalgic for me. It was as if I knew every character personally. 

Reijn played into this comfort in the creation of the film, allowing her to slowly induce anxiety and fear as factors both within and out of the characters’ control began to escalate their situation. The level of suspense stayed high throughout this film’s run-time, thanks in part to the primary light source for most scenes being either iPhone or hand-held flashlights. This unique lighting, partnered with the energetic editing style, left me on the edge of my seat.

And while some whodunit films struggle with concealing who exactly the suspect is, the ending of this movie truly left me shocked in the theater — jaw-dropped and all.  

In an interview with WatchMojo, Reijn described this film as “‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘Lord of the Flies,’” and honestly, I couldn’t agree more with that statement. The characters resorted to airing out years of childhood secrets and drama in an attempt to not only prove their innocence but also rationalize their horrible behavior towards one another — in less than 24 hours.

While these moments in the film are devastating, demonstrating the dark psychology behind group behavior and the consequences of toxic love, they also produced some of the best comedic moments and hilarious one-liners in the film. 

Gen Z comedy gold, if I do say so myself. 

The greatest thing about this film, in fact, is how well it encapsulates life as a young adult in 2022. Not only does it make relevant references and comment on popular aspects of modern culture, including the fact that anyone can start a podcast nowadays, but it also includes the representation that Hollywood has been starved of in the past several years. A primarily female cast, with both LGBTQ+ and black women in leading roles, is like a breath of fresh air in the male-dominated film industry.

While “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” is unfortunately no longer in theaters, it will make its way to streaming services on Oct. 5, just in time for the Halloween season. So, whether you are planning a scary movie marathon or looking for a fresh take on the classic whodunit genre, be sure to keep this film in mind.