'Bodies Bodies Bodies' is Like a Gen Z 'Lord of the Flies' - Knotfest

‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ is Like a Gen Z ‘Lord of the Flies’

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Culture on August 19, 2022

Part slasher, part whodunnit, part black comedy, part generational social critique – A24’s latest has bite

Bodies Bodies Bodies, directed by Halina Reijn, is one of the most searing indictments of the social media age and its effects on young people I’ve ever seen. There’s been no shortage of stories in recent years that deal with the topic in different ways, but Reijn’s film goes beyond the obvious observations of ourselves (how it makes us shallow, self-absorbed and unhappy) and chooses to focus on the ways it makes us view and relate to others – and who we are without it. The film carries a sobering message but brilliantly delivers it in a clever and wickedly fun way, in the form of a slasher whodunnit filled with style and personality.

The story follows a group of 20-somethings (think younger millennials / older Gen Zers) who are partying it up in an exceptionally privileged way: They’re hosting a hurricane party, which is exactly what the name suggests. The friends drink, blast music and snort coke in a mansion as the deadly storm rages outside, unbothered by the weather but deeply bothered by each other. When Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) shows up to the party with her new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) without first notifying the group chat, tensions immediately arise.

Courtesy of A24

Sophie’s ex, Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), is clearly antagonized by their appearance. David (Pete Davidson), whose family owns the sprawling home, holds his own resentment towards the older, handsome Greg (Lee Pace), whose detachment from things like TikTok, group chats or holding grudges seem to make him the most relaxed and self-assured of the bunch. Like fellow outlier Bee, Greg’s been brought here by his girlfriend Alice (Rachel Sennott), the dappy and energetic heart and soul of the group. When the power goes out and one of the partygoers turns up dead, things quickly spiral and everyone’s innate animosity towards each other comes out in the worst ways.

Written by Sarah DeLappe and Kristen Roupenian, Bodies Bodies Bodies does a tremendous job of establishing the group’s distrustful and judgmental nature. Genuineness is hard to come by in the digital age where everything and everyone feels performative for the sake of online attention and affection. Consider the way David insults his girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), belittling her claims of him gaslighting her by arguing that the word is meaningless and she’s merely parroting stuff from the Internet. David is certainly being an asshole here but what he says rings depressingly true: Modern trauma-centered terms such as gaslighting, triggering and toxicity have quickly become so overused that they now mean next to nothing at all. Or worse, they’ve become weaponized against the very people they initially gave a voice to.

Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders, and Rachel Sennott star in ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’
Courtesy of A24

So while social media turns everyone into fakes and phonies who only know how to show vulnerability if it’s in the form of a post, it also grows resentment and distrust towards those with little to no digital footprint at all. Suspicions as to who the killer could be are especially aimed at the more off-the-grid newcomers Bee and Greg, but at the same time it’s the tight-knit group of “friends” who have potential motivations. The film smartly plays on audiences’ expectations as well, taking advantage of the tropes and familiar beats of murder mysteries to subvert them in various ways and keep you guessing. Red herrings and well-placed seeds of distrust are successfully planted and utilized throughout the chaotic night.

The sharp script, Reijn’s excellent direction, and fantastic performances from the cast make Bodies Bodies Bodies stand out not merely for its witty generational focus but the way it continuously plays with the rhythms of its scenes; swinging back and forth between the wild and darkly comedic moments and the tense character dynamics with stylish effectiveness. And while the film is consistently entertaining and enthralling, it’s the final moment that truly encapsulates all that it has to say. A stunning, hilarious and tragic portrait of a generation that caught onto the absurd vapidity of life much quicker than the rest of us.

‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ is now playing in theaters.

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