Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Bodies, Bodies, Bodies’: Gen Z Meets Agatha Christie

The best slasher film of the summer you (probably) didn’t watch
Courtesy of IMDB.

I’m going to be honest, slashers aren’t exactly my cup of tea. Yes, I do love the classics such as “Scream,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Halloween,” but I don’t actively seek out this genre. However, as someone who keeps up with A24 to a disgusting extent, I was greeted with the trailer to “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies,” and couldn’t help but feel intrigued.

The story is simple: a group of friends plus one middle-aged man suffering from a midlife crisis decide to embark on a weekend-long house party at a remote mansion, yet everything goes terribly wrong. Someone is murdered, and no one knows who. It’s the perfect whodunit-slasher combo that audiences rarely receive.

The film opens with a passionate kiss between Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova), the two protagonists. They seem to be madly in love, yet we soon come to find out that their relationship isn’t more than a month old, and it’s revealed that Sophie has some serious attachment issues. Her so-called “friends” give her grief for everything she’s done and are also deeply insensitive. Bee knows nothing of this and has simply been invited as a plus-one. She’s quiet and modest, unlike the rest of Sophie’s gang. As the film furthers, it’s clear that Sophie was just discharged from a rehabilitation facility, yet her friends don’t seem to care. This mess of unlikable characters boasts some big names like Pete Davidson, who portrays homeowner-slash- kid David, his picture-perfect girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), bold and brash Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) and the unbelievably charismatic Alice, played by Rachel Sennott. Very clearly the scene-stealer of this entire film, she totes around her 40-year-old boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace), who is so clearly out-of-place.

To no one’s surprise, this group of friends hate each other to their cores. Sophie’s arrival is met with glares and side-eyed glances as they all question her presence. Who’s Bee? Why is she invited? Why didn’t Sophie tell anyone she was attending, much less bringing a newfound girlfriend? Their disdain for each other is so strong, and their shared tension runs deep. As a culmination of this perfect storm of events, a literal hurricane brews outside, and things only worsen from there.

As it darkens outside and the electricity cuts out, Sophie aptly suggests that the group play a game called “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies.” It’s easy; one person is chosen as the “killer,” and the rest of the players hide or run until they’re “murdered.” It’s all innocent fun, yet these characters face a harsh reality when David turns up dead on the porch, very clearly bleeding out. Nothing’s funny anymore — their friend is dead, and not in the name of the game.

Without spoiling things further, I’ll just mention that the rest of the film follows the group as they attempt to unmask the murderer within their ranks. The ensemble cast, equally chaotic and fun, carries this film perfectly. Their dynamics are unmatched, as the actors and actresses play their roles so convincingly that the audience can’t truly name a single suspect. This shared struggle between the screen and its viewers is what makes the film such a fun watch, as the audience scrambles just as much as the characters do. We’re not given any hidden clues or red herrings as we’re left to sit there, dumbfounded at the group’s inability to communicate effectively. Buzzwords such as “gaslighting” and “girlboss” are abundant, and it’s hard to grasp these characters as real people. Their lives are so deeply saturated by social media, the group even films a TikTok in one scene. They’re removed from the real world completely, and it seems as though everyone has put on a front for the others.

Personally, one of my favorite aspects of the film is the fact that the script for this film feels so accurate. Many films that revolve around Gen Z have horrible screenplays, as established writers struggle to keep up with the changing times. It’s hard to watch at times, as we get compared to millennials frequently, and cringe worthy lines are always prevalent. This film, however, hits the nail on the head; while the characters are vapid and soulless, they still attempt to sound relatable and normal. This is a personal dig at my generation and myself, yet it’s true. We’re not the most honest bunch, yet we try to seem like it. It’s a picture-perfect representation of our generation, and it’s clear that these characters aren’t just written to seem stupid — they are stupid.

Lastly, at the risk of droning on about its cast for far too long, I need to mention Rachel Sennott. Her performance as Alice, podcasting queen who seems to talk just a little too much, is stellar. She is, without a doubt, the most fun part about this film. Sennott is hilarious as she’s always where she shouldn’t be and saying things she shouldn’t say. In a film that doesn’t require much comic relief, she still takes on that role, and she does it perfectly.

“Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” is masterfully crafted, well-paced and just a downright fun experience. It never drags, and the stupidity of the characters on its own keeps you hooked. Sure, it was also satisfying to find out who the murderer really was, but I didn’t leave the theaters being impressed by its story. Rather, I was impressed by everything else it had to offer. It’s the perfect combination of everything mindless, summer entertainment should be, and I am beyond glad I watched this on the big screen.

Ashviny Kaur can be reached at [email protected].

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