Bodies, Bodies, Bodies – Film Review
by Brian Merriman
Director: Halina Reijn
Screenplay: Screenplay: Sarah DeLappe, Chloe Okuno, Kristen Roupenian, Joshua Sharp, Aaron Jackson
Stars – Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Pete Davidson, Lee Pace, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders
Director Halina Reijn is given a screenplay written by five different people, (Sarah DeLappe, Chloe Okuno, Kristen Roupenian, Joshua Sharp and Aaron Jackson) and perhaps that explains a lot about what happens for the next 90 minutes. Many writers can dip into the cliché pot more than they should, but when all five endlessly appear to do so, our reward is very thin.
This has all the hallmarks of a B movie horror, two beautiful young lovers open the story, Sophie (Amanda Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova). They are a recent romance and Sophie decides to introduce Bee to her super ‘best friends’ in their luxurious mansion. Bee hasn’t come from money.
The next sequence has Sophie driving a 4×4 up a spectacular long cliff edge road (with no barriers). How she reaches her destination is a miracle as she spends the entire journey driving as she gazes at Bee in the passenger seat. Perhaps she was rich enough to have an auto-pilot? True to such a lifestyle, the dysfunctional best friends Alice (Rachel Sennett), David (Pete Anderson), Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), Greg (Lee Pace) and Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) ‘hate each other’ and are drink and drugged up throughout the swimming pool and champagned first fifteen minutes. Only ‘Max’ is missing – he (wisely) stormed out the day before, truly one of the most onscreen thankless parts ever conceived.
The plot descends into a game of ‘murder’ (called bodies) which goes wrong. Add in a raging storm outside, a power cut, no phone signals, a flat car battery, and eighty minutes of plot filmed via phone/flashlights (for atmosphere) and you’ve got the bulk of the plot.
Ok, there is more…lots of bodies, blood and a golden rule, anyone who breaks away from the pack gets murdered…so they… break away from the pack… frequently. One, after all, needs to get a new top, so she ventures to change her clothes alone in a dark house as there is a murderer loose. When she returns, where did you get that top is screamed, and who owns it? That key question also remains unresolved at the end.
They are a good-looking, suitably diverse cast as reflects rich America. They do their plausible best. The endless flashlight staging is very irritating and truly is exhausted for its ability to raise dramatic tension – a plot would help. However, it is a tribute to US mobile phone manufacturers as the phone lights last the entire night without draining the battery. In the conclusion, we wait for answers to questions such as does Max return? Where did she get that top? And who is the murderer? I can only assume they got life in prison…no, not for being in the movie…but for the murders…I think.