‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’: A24’s underrated slasher satire
(Credit: Netflix)


'Bodies Bodies Bodies': A24's underrated slasher satire

Wes Craven may have popularised it as far back as 1996’s Scream and sat back as everybody else followed suit, but horror has become increasingly self-reflexive in recent years, with A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies one of metatextual slasher cinema’s finest efforts.

At a surface level, director Halina Reijn and writer Sarah DeLappe have taken the basic formula of the whodunit and transplanted it into another genre, with a group of 20-something characters each carrying a distinct set of idiosyncrasies and foibles finding themselves hunkered down in an isolated mansion during a hurricane.

When they decide to keep themselves occupied by playing the titular party game, things take a turn for the worse when one of their number is discovered dead with their throat cut, and the murder weapon is seemingly lingering nearby. Of course, things aren’t quite as straightforward as they seem, with loyalties constantly shifting and allegiances being formed as the survivors strive to root out the culprit.

More than being an entertaining movie, though, Bodies Bodies Bodies does what many great horrors have done in the past by using blood and guts as the backdrop to plenty of insightful and often razor-sharp satire, with Gen Z being the target on this occasion.

Not that they’re being actively mocked, but the film nonetheless singled out many of the generation’s own concerns. The trailer led to much eye-rolling among a certain subset when it revealed itself to be full of buzzwords like toxic, gaslight, and trigger, but as tends to be the case, context is key.

For a film that takes place largely during a power outage, Bodies Bodies Bodies does a remarkable job of skewering smartphone and social media culture. Various characters are shown to be image-obsessed, riddled with insecurities, failing to keep up to date with the latest goings-on in the group chat, with each of them presenting a veneer of themselves that isn’t quite as true in real life as it is online.

Not that it ever becomes preachy in its messaging, either, with the filmmakers allowing their eclectic ensemble cast to inject their roles with plenty of individualism without ever devolving into cliché, although when viewed as a collective they’re intentionally reflective of both the internal and external perception of Gen Z.

Bodies Bodies Bodies doesn’t feel the need to hit the audience over the head with its underlying themes, which is just as well when it delivers on its own being viewed as nothing more than frivolous horror comedy that lets the mysteries become increasingly entangled before the one thread is pulled that reveals the unvarnished – and fittingly, blackly hilarious – truth behind the murder they’d all turned against each other trying to solve in the first place.