What a pedigree! With an original script by “Cat Person” phenomenon Kristin Roupenian, given a rewrite by none other than Sarah DeLappe (“The Wolves”) and marking the English-language debut of noted Dutch actress/director Halina Reijn (“Boy 7”),“Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” reeks of talent both in front and behind the camera. and it shows in every scene. What’s more, it’s beautifully Queer friendly, the relationship between the two leads Bee (played by Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova from “Borat 2”) and Sophie (played by Amanda Stenberg so good in “Dear Evan Hanson” and equally superb here) always being the emotional center of the movie, no matter how outrageous the plot or hilarious the dialogue.
It’s Sophie’s decision to visit her friends in a remote country mansion, just as a huge storm is about to collapse power lines cutting off electricity and the internet, which sets the plot in motion. And it’s also Sophie’s choice (no pun intended) to play the game Bodies Bodies Bodies* just as the storm hits, the lights go out, and the body count (real or imagined) begins to mount.
It’s “Halloween” meets the “Old Dark House” but energized by an extraordinary group of young actors – in addition to Bakalova and Stenberg we have Rachel Sennott (“Shiva Baby”), Myha’la Herrold (“Industry”), and Chase Sui Wonders (“Generation”) – all of whom are splendid and ground this very women-friendly movie with a surprising degree of empathy. Sennott, gets the best of the “twitter-friendly” lines, which she delivers with unbridled glee, her takes on both body dysmorphic disorder and borderline personality disorder getting major laughs.
The Next Best Thing to Ari Aster
Add two very well-played male roles, one a brilliantly deranged Pete Davidson (with raccoon eye), the other a nicely mysterious Lee Pace, and then throw in a satisfying (though not classic) surprise ending and you have one of the best horror movies of the year. Not Ari Aster, but the next best thing.
*Bodies Bodies Bodies the game. Each person in the group of players (recommended number at least seven) is given a piece of paper. If you get the piece marked X you are the killer. Your mission, when the lights go off, is to find someone and “kill them” by a simple tap on the back. The unfortunate victim then “plays dead” until a survivor finds them and cries out Body! Body! The lights are turned back on, and the players must now figure out the killer’s identity.