‘Bodies, Bodies, Bodies’ is captivating, original


Photo Courtesy of A24

Slasher films are one of the most overdone and cliched tropes in the horror genre. During the “Golden Age” of slasher films, the late 1970s to the early 1980s, renowned movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween were released. These movies pioneered the genre, but in the coming decades, films including the idea became less and less original. When I first saw the trailer for Bodies Bodies Bodies, the loud, obnoxious music and seemingly predictable plot made it seem as if the movie would just be another remake of this same hackneyed trope. But I was mistaken. Bodies Bodies Bodies, directed by Halina Reijn, is captivating, original, and filled with flair from start to finish. 

It begins with two teenage girls, blasting music, on their way to a house party. After meeting their somewhat passive aggressive and filthy rich “friends” there, they consume many intoxicating substances and decide to play a game called “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” To play this game, someone is secretly assigned the role of “killer” from a card draw, and then all the lights are turned out. When the killer taps someone, they must play dead, and when someone finds a “dead” body, they shout, “Bodies Bodies Bodies!” Now, as you may have predicted, the game goes horribly wrong. The group of teenagers actually finds one of their friends dead, and then the movie begins to pick up speed. 

While this may seem to be a watch-and-forget type movie, Reijn employs a few different techniques to make her film memorable. For starters, she uses some fascinating lighting techniques to make her visuals aesthetically appealing. Bodies Bodies Bodies takes place over the course of one night, so most of the scenes were shot in partial or total darkness where characters were not always visible to the camera due to lack of light. To be able to capture the characters while also having the element of darkness, Reijn and her cinematographer Jasper Wolf had to get creative. They chose to use a method that resolved this technical issue while also enhancing the costumes of each of the characters. Alice (Rachel Sennott), an energetic girl who loves being the center of attention, is decked out in glow-stick jewelry. This reflects her outgoing personality while also illuminating her face and body when the lights go out around her. Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) is a powerful leader and doesn’t back down without a fight. Throughout the film, she wears an LED headlamp, which quite literally allows her to illuminate the path the group should take to resolve their issues. These original approaches to lighting actors on set show the ingenuity of this film. 

Another interesting thing about Bodies Bodies Bodies is its depiction of modern-day youth. While many other scripts make use of outdated and nonsensical slang, inaccurate depictions of style, and cringe-worthy social media references, Bodies Bodies Bodies hits the nail on the head almost every single time trends are brought up. When Reijn’s characters are speaking to each other, their dialogue feels very natural. The “Gen Z” words they use are used correctly, and at no time does it sound like a 40-year-old man wrote a parody of a modern-day teenager’s conversation.  

The soundtrack also plays a role in the film’s representation of teenagers in 2022. Reijn made use of a few tracks including the artists Charli XCX, Shygirl, and Slayyyter. The songs used largely fall into the genre of hyperpop, which is usually characterized as a maximalist take on popular music. With the rise in popularity of this genre among today’s youth, it fulfills Reijn’s purpose of matching the soundtrack of her film with her characters. This talented take on popular culture allowed Reijn’s writing to create an underlying commentary on media culture and how teenagers interact with it, where a lesser movie would parody Generation Z’s overuse of technology. 

Overall, this movie was undeniably fun and definitely worth the 95 minutes it took to watch. The way Reijn turned a commonly seen plot into something original and creative was amazing to see, and I am excited to see what she creates in the future.