Body Body Body | Film critic
September 5, 2022
A satirical subversion of slasher tropes, Halina Reijn’s English language debut, Body Body Body is an experience closer to being bludgeoned over the head with a kettlebell than a thought-provoking deconstruction of rich kids with nothing but details and fake friends, characterized by about as much subtlety as its title noted.
Bodies, bodies, bodies and more bodies, for good measure, pile up after Bee and Sophie (Maria Bakalova and Amandla Stenberg, respectively) attend a “hurricane party” in the sprawling mansion belonging to the absent family of Sophie’s childhood friend, David (Peter Davidson). Upon the couple’s arrival at the stately home, they are greeted by an undercurrent of icy tension blanketed in warm embraces, reminiscent of the superior’s social anxiety last year. All my friends hate me. As the hurricane ensues, drug use resumes and tension mounts, reaching boiling point during a titular game of Bodies Bodies Bodies. The obligatory argument erupts and recedes, until the game predictably takes on a literal manifestation, paranoia reigning over the storm-swept night in an almost biblical reckoning of… TikTok culture?
The simultaneous fall and virtue of Body Body Body is its intentional construction of insufferable and hateful personas, which, excluding Bakalova’s Bee, seem to collectively characterize all the flaws of the social media generation. Jealousy, the insatiable appetite for victimization, the obsession with plating at the expense of meaningful human interaction are rather carefully satirized by the conclusion of this particularly toxic thriller, and the unbearable nature of its characters is at the heart of how the mystery works. . Whether one thinks this justifies spending time with said characters for an entire 90 minutes is a matter of subjectivity. There are two instances in which this story could have been successfully translated to the screen. One would have been a short that hit its sweet, succinct point with tighter efficiency, meaning one could escape the presence of such boring, cringe-inducing characters an hour earlier. The second option would have been a more accurate script that wouldn’t reduce its characters to caricatures of drug privilege and toxicity that resort to the kind of pseudo-psychology and empathy that can be found in a millisecond after the Twitter login.
Reijn might defend the final product (and it seems many would agree) by suggesting that the lack of depth, obnoxious and self-centered characters, is exactly the point. The director clearly has an eye for a striking plan and an intriguingly constructed setting. Dramatically, however, the film’s tension is irrevocably compromised, as the tension rests on a whole that can be invested in and cared for, even if it is unsympathetic and not to be rooted for.
Body Body Body airs nationwide on 9e September 2022.
Watch the trailer for Body Body Body here: