Bodies Bodies Bodies Reminds Us That Horror-Comedy Isn’t Dead

I did something for A24’s newest horror outing, Bodies Bodies Bodies, that I almost never do for any film: I went into it cold without so much as a trailer viewing. I knew what the premise was, of course, but the time simply felt right for a cold outing to get that honest and untainted reaction.

Let me tell you, I am damn sure glad that I did.

It’s the eve of a major hurricane, and Sophie (Amandla Stenberg; Rue from The Hunger Games) has brought her new girlfriend, Bee (Maria Bakalova; Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) to a hurricane party thrown by her oldest and dearest friends. Sophie’s best friend, David (Pete Davidson; Saturday Night Live), is hosting at his parents’ mini-mansion, and there are enough old frenemies to fill a high school study hall. There’s David’s shady actress girlfriend, Emma (Chase Sui Wonders; On the Rocks). Vapid party girl Alice (Rachel Sennott; Shiva Baby) and her much older boyfriend, Greg (Lee Pace; Guardians of the Galaxy) bring the silliness, and uber-intense Jordynne (Myha’la Herrold; HBO’s Industry) brings the antagonism and complicated history. During a murder mystery party game called Bodies Bodies Bodies, one of them turns up truly dead and the shit hits the fan. What follows is a comedy of errors and suspicions, each more horrific than the last.

Group photo
This is one hell of a hurricane party!

The A24 horror slate is heavy on atmosphere (It Comes At Night), familial drama, plot twists, and mental screw jobs, but it’s not that heavy on horror-comedy. The idea of a group of twenty-somethings playing a murder game during a hurricane party power outage lays out all the familiar trappings of the whodunit genre while throwing in a slasher flavor and a host of barely suppressed issues between the frenemies makes Bodies Bodies Bodies feel like something you’ve seen before. That is, it feels a bit like a modern take on the bastard child of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Clue until the extremely self-aware sensibility and razor-sharp 2022 wit put you on notice that you’re getting something entirely different. It maintains the A24 tradition of being a damn good-looking film that’s tightly shot.

On the comedy side of things, the witty banter feels born of the best of Kevin Smith. It’s crisp and at times utterly vicious, keeping every scene imbued with an intensity that almost flies in the face of the laughs you can’t keep in. Rachel Sennott chews up every scene and every line she gets as Alice; I would legitimately watch a movie with that character as the lead in a straight comedy a ’la Clueless. And you know Pete Davidson is going to deliver on the funny. He may rub some people the wrong way, but he is oozing with it factor and owns this role.

Alice and Greg
Rachel Sennott is doing her thing

On the horror side of things, don’t expect a super bloody slasher or even a film that is a slasher in structure. Bodies Bodies Bodies is no slasher, but the kills are well executed and give you the violence that you need to be invested in. The fact that you’re having fun during the whole thing is almost a bonus. It’s an incredibly well-balanced film in that regard. The whodunit aspects of the film get noticeably lost at times in all the deadly shenanigans and woke wit, but that honestly doesn’t break the fun or even slow it down.

At the end of the day, Bodies Bodies Bodies is essentially backstab after backstab in an endless parade of insults, accusations, and old wounds done with one seriously sharp sense of humor and some damn crisp writing. And that ending?! People stood and clapped in the screening, and for good reason. There’s a real joy in feeling the happiness of an entire packed screening with the big reveal. You’ll think you know exactly where this movie is going and some of you will guess, but it’s the construction of how the layers are peeled back that ensures everyone in Bodies Bodies Bodies gets time to shine. The result is a film that you’ll want to show someone else.

That’s really the highest compliment, isn’t it?

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Written by Stuart Monroe

A man obsessed with all things horror (particulary the Italians and the British), Big Daddy Stu devours everything he can in the genre. When he's not watching or reading horror, he's watching pro wrestling or Clemson Tigers football. Big Daddy Stu also writes a bit of fiction on occasion.

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