Gene Siskel, the late film critic for the Chicago Tribune, once said that he looks at each movie and asks himself this question – Is this film more interesting than watching a documentary of the same actors having lunch?
I’m sure if Siskel, who passed in 1999, was still alive today, he would have probably paid the waiter to spit in the drinks of the cast of Bodies Bodies Bodies, a movie that is so awful, I’m going to spoil the whole plot in this review. There’s no way to criticize this movie without telling you the atrociousness of the plot and its details. It’s released through A24 which should give you a clue that you’re probably going to sit through a movie you’re not going to like.
Looking back on a lot of the movies during the independent film craze of the late 1980s through the 1990s, I realized a lot of them mistook annoying characters for witty banter. I would watch them and then get bored halfway through and flip through a magazine or book hoping that it would all mean something in the end. The worst culprit was when I saw Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line on a rainy cold Saturday afternoon in January of 1999. After the lights came up, there was a lot of people in the theaters who were college-age and we all looked at each other with a “What the hell was that?!” expression.
I rented Bodies Bodies Bodies from the local library and even though I was in town on other business, I still felt the gas mileage to get from one location across town to the library was poorly wasted. I’m not sure what this movie is supposed to be. It’s classified as a black comedy horror but there’s no comedy and no horror. And it’s black because the lights are out most of the movie.
The plot has similarities to Glass Onion but not the humor. Seven people meet up at a mansion before a hurricane is due to hit for a party. From the beginning, I felt a gringe as we see the two protagonists, Bee (Maria Bakalova) and Sophie (Amanda Stenberg), kissing like it’s a porno. It’s obviously done for exploitation and I don’t know if director Halina Reijn meant to do it or if Stenberg is openly bisexual. But it sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
The mansion belongs to David (Pete Davidson) and there’s some questions as the rest of the people in attendance didn’t know Sophie was going to be coming. He’s there with his girlfriend, Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), an actress. There’s Alice (Rachel Sennott), a podcaster, with her much older new boyfriend, Greg (Lee Pace). And then there’s Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), who may have had a recent romantic history with Sophie.
Eventually they decide to play “Bodies Bodies Bodies” a murder in the dark-style game but a lot of angst and fights break out. Soon, David is noticed outside with his throat cut from a kukri nearby. Earlier Greg was trying to impress everyone by opening a champaigne bottle by using the kukri slicing it off. They go and confront Greg about it as he appears ignorant but hostile to all the women accusing him of killing David.
Bee hits Greg twice on a head with a kettle ball killing him in self-defense. However, Alice doesn’t believe Greg could be violent and corrects the others when they think he was a military vet by saying he was a veterinarian. Emma says it could’ve been Max (Conner O’Malley) who had left the night before following a fight with David. I guess the movie was trying to go for The Thing and how no one can trust each other, but the characters are so annoying and unlikeable, no one cares.
Eventually Sophie, a former addict, relapses and her and Emma share a kiss before people find Emma dead at the bottom of a stairway. Eventually, it comes down to Jordan and Alice suspecting Bee of being the killer since they didn’t know about her. But then Alice is shot in the leg by Jordan when Alice says things Jordan doesn’t like. So, they scuffle for the gun and Alice is shot dead.
Jordan tells Bee her and Sophie have been having an affair which Sophie denies and gets in a fight with Jordan. Bee pushes her over the bannister falling to her death but Jordan tells her to check the texts. Still leery of each other, the two women find himself outside as it’s now morning and the storm has passed where they discover a phone that Bee thinks is Sophie’s but it’s David’s. There just happens to be a video of David trying to perform the same trick Greg did with a bottle put accidentally slicing his throat.
So, there you go. There was no killer all along. Sophie tells Bee that she had relapsed and witnessed Emma tripping and falling down the stairs. Also, how would a smartphone survive being left outside for hours during heavy rains. Yes, it’s so foolish to believe that everything would happen that someone would assume that someone was killed when the freaking weapon was right next to them. And the whole thing about Sophie seeing Emma is a cheat. This whole movie feels like a cheat.
Not since I sat through the horrible Baghead, written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, have I felt so cheated. If you’re going to make a horror movie, make a horror movie. This is worse than a Scooby-Doo episode where someone pulls a mask off and we discover the monster is a greedy real estate developer. At least he was up to no good. This is a Scooby-Doo episode where Shaggy chokes to death on a Scooby Snack and the rest of Mystery, Incorporated start thinking it’s each other who poisoned him.
Sure, some people are going to say that all the characters are egomaniacs and narcissists but that’s still not a twist. A twist has clues along the way. This movie is like a joke telling you the punchline to a different joke. At no point did I really care about any of the characters and to be honest, they were so indistinguishable, I’m sure the filmmakers realized this themselves. Because Stenberg and Herrold are both black, Jordan wears a head flashlight and Alice and Emma looks so much alike that Alice wears rave glow sticks around her neck.
I haven’t laughed this hard since the awful Attack the Block, starring a pre-Star Wars John Boyega in which the other two black characters had special features to their costumes to make them different. One wore a motorcycle helmet and the other wore glasses. Spoiler alert, they are both killed by the alien chimpanzee creatures. And just like this movie, I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.
I spoke with the woman at the library about this movie. She said that she understood the purpose of making them unlikeable was to watch their deaths easier but it’s hard to watch the movie at all. I will say I felt the movie didn’t treat the Alice character the right way which makes her death more horrible. I don’t know if I’d want to watch the same characters eating lunch but I would like to see the police interrogate Sophie and Bee as they try to explain everything.
What do you think? Please comment.