Returning once again to defend their crown as the champion of offbeat, buzzy horror, A24’s latest grizzly, genre-bending flick is Bodies Bodies Bodies, out now in theaters. Anchored by an ensemble cast chock full of young talent, and spurred on by a tight, well-paced script that boasts killer dialogue (pun very much intended) Bodies Bodies Bodies may just be the definitive Gen-Z horror movie: at the very least, it’s one of the decade’s best so far. With dialogue ripped straight from a Twitter thread think piece and enough messy deaths and clever plot twists to satisfy any genre veteran, Bodies Bodies Bodies is the perfect blend of horror and satirical comedy.
Starring Rachel Sennott, Amanda Stenberg, and Maria Bakalova, Bodies Bodies Bodies features young newly-dating couple Sophie (Stenberg) and Bee (Bakalova) who road-trip to a remote mansion in the middle of a hurricane to party with a group of Sophie’s rich friends. Though Sophie is eager to help ingratiate Bee into the messy, pill-popping friend group, Sophie’s friends Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), Alice (Sennott), and Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) are less than impressed by the introverted newcomer. Things grow dire quickly when a party game of “Bodies Bodies Bodies” takes a morbid turn, and one by one party attendees wind up dead. Terrified, constantly turning on each other, and coked out of their minds, the privileged 20-somethings struggle to find the killer and escape the night with their lives.
As a number of big-name horror franchises like Scream and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre seem interested in doing, Bodies Bodies Bodies first and foremost is a film interested in exploring the less-than-flattering side of Gen-Z, and the particularly obnoxious quirks that tend to populate their language, style, and philosophical outlook on life. Though the aforementioned franchises attack the subject with varying amounts of success, Bodies Bodies Bodies is without question the most true-to-life portrayal of Gen-Z 20-somethings that the horror genre has seen, not to mention the funniest.
Attempting to capitalize on Gen-Z humor without purely making fun of it or using slang that can quickly become dated is always a gamble considering the speed at which Twitter and TikTok hop from trend to trend, but steers clear of this problem with the most obvious yet elusive solution: putting together a cast that’s actually funny. Though Sarah DeLappe’s screenplay is certainly strong, the genius casting of breakout Shiva Baby actress Rachel Sennott, and SNL veteran Pete Davidson gives the film a kind of comedic clout absent from the horror genre – and the impact is obvious.
No surprises here – Rachel Sennott is once again the runaway scene-stealer: her coke-snorting older sketchy boyfriend-dating uber-talkative Alice is the life of the party: perhaps the most cliche, unflattering portrayal of the bunch, but also, remarkably, an empathetic character whose downfall you’re not *quite* rooting for, but still certainly upset about when the time comes. Bodies Bodies Bodies does a surprising job of balancing empathy and comedy: not always going for the low-hanging fruit when it comes to character beats, but instead crafting an ensemble that stands on their own two feet outside of functioning as a critique of a specific group.
The complexity of the writing is highlighted particularly in the relationship between Sophie and Jordan, exes with a simmering tension that permeates the film’s second and third acts. Though Jordan isn’t a flat-out villain, there’s a fierceness to her personality (complimented by a firecracker of a performer in Myha’la Herrold) that’s unexpectedly and delightfully fresh for a female slasher character.
The emotional anchor of it all, though, is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘s Maira Bakalova, in the first of what is hopefully many dramatic, genre-hopping roles. As Bee, she balances timidness and introversion with just the right amount of suspiciousness to not always entirely count her out as a potential killer. Her chemistry with Amandla Stenberg is more than enough to make for a believable fledgling romance, and the resulting friction with Sophie’s ex-Jordan is similarly potent.
All around, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a bitterly funny and frightfully scary comedy-horror flick with some of the most well-written, complex protagonists in the genre’s history: a testament to the comedic talent of Rachell Sennott, the dramatic chops of Maria Bakalova, and the true power of a properly-executed pop culture reference from screenwriter Sarah DeLappee.
Round up your messiest friends, find a couple of glow sticks, and go see Bodies Bodies Bodies in the biggest, darkest movie theatre you can find.