Dutch film director Halina Reijn’s ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ is one of the most satisfying and funny slasher thrillers you will see this year. The film harkens back to Agatha Christie’s celebrated mystery novel ‘And Then There Were None’ and similarly puts a bunch of people — 21st-century youngsters, in this case — in a single location and cuts them off from the rest of the world. In the film, the location is a vacation house owned by the richest kid (Pete Davidson’s David) and a hurricane shuts down all cell, and landline connectivity, and electricity. Oh, and a killer, with a predilection for using shiny sharp weapons, is on the loose.
Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) is a recovering addict who arrives unannounced with her girlfriend Bee (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ breakout Maria Bakalova) to the ‘hurricane party’ — which, I gather, is a thing in the United States where adventuresome people party before or even during a hurricane. They are not very enthusiastically welcomed by David, his girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), Alice (Rachel Sennott), and her boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace making a meal of the role of a dumb but hot middle-aged man).
After a binge of booze and cocaine, they decide to indulge in a party game, called Bodies Bodies Bodies, where one of them becomes a murderer, and the others have to find out their identity. The concept soon seeps into real life when they scatter to play the game. Suddenly, David staggers towards them while clutching a gushing neck wound and dies. In disbelief and afraid for their own lives, they first team up to find Greg, who had gone to bed early and may be ex-military — which, they conclude, makes him most likely to be a killer.
But bodies continue to pile up, tension intensifies, and still, there is no hint as to who is the killer. And it’s still network and electricity blackout. The characters then turn on each other, their barely concealed prejudices, insecurities, and grudges bursting forth. The result is less disturbing and more hilarious. Even as it ratchets up the suspense, ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ retains its humour. It is often inappropriately funny, blackly funny.
Through its setup, the film captures the modern-day, technology-related anxieties of millennials and later generations. The script, Kristen Roupenian has written the story and Sarah DeLappe has the screenplay credit, peppers in themes of privilege and faux-progressivism of white liberals. The film never gets ponderous, though, and these themes actually tie nicely into the film’s humour. The fans of gore will not be disappointed, though it is not gratuitous.
‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ is a wickedly funny slasher thriller that should be at the top of your watch list.