Directed by Halina Reijn | Written by Sarah DeLappe and Kristen Roupenian | 94 min | ▲▲▲▲△ | Amazon Prime
We open on the sounds of kissing — Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) making out. Sophie declares her love for Bee. Bee keeps schtum. Coming out of the film, I kept thinking about its opening and its closing. The film’s final line is, “I have reception.”
Bodies Bodies Bodies is a slashing satire all about how our screen-mediated communication has inexorably changed us, while also functioning as a cracking murder mystery and riotous class comedy. And that’s maybe the thing that it does best — deftly turning up the suspense around who is the killer among a group of frenemies, while landing hilarious blows at the characters’ performative virtue, the weaponized passive-aggression, and all-around bitchery.
It takes place at a single location: A hurricane party is being held by Sophie’s friends at a sprawling mansion out in the woods. Gathered there are David (Pete Davidson), whose father owns the pile, his girlfriend, the actor, Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), the podcaster, Alice (Rachel Sennott), and Alice’s recent and much older Tinder hook-up, Greg (Lee Pace).
Tension runs rife here: We first meet the group partying by the pool and a number are surprised and maybe a little disappointed to see Sophie and her new girlfriend show up — the suggestion that Sophie is an addict comes from the jump. David is plainly an insecure asshole, and some may not be surprised Davidson is entirely convincing in the role. It’s sort of his brand, isn’t it?
But the key relationships are between the four women, and as the storm sets in and the partying increases, we get a better sense of their shared history, their animosities, and their unacknowledged privilege.
They’re young, hot, wealthy, and petty, and even when the power goes out and they’ve got no signal, they speak to each other in trolling Tweets — on one hand fully engaged in the language that they know they’re supposed to use without actually believing it, and on the other delivering brutal takedowns of each other — with Bee largely silent on the outside of the circle looking in, her eyes our window to this selfish, antisocial ecosystem.
Of course, all this is exacerbated by the terror they feel when, after playing a party game called Bodies Bodies Bodies, actual dead people start piling up. The film is way too clever to tip its hat to who the murderer is until the end, and while I had a theory I was happily proven way wrong.
Instead, we get to enjoy a ride and a coming-in-hot landing that’s perfectly stuck while the picture feeds us plenty of laughs at the expense of its game cast of awful characters. And while not every line is perfect, nor every character motivation entirely plausible, this movie is fire.
The only thing that scares me is when people look back at the films of 2022, this one’s going to have drawn the most blood as an indictment of who we really are right now.