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The Indiana Daily Student

arts review

COLUMN: ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ is a chaotic and wickedly funny portrait of Gen Z culture

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Released nationwide on August 5, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is the latest A24 film to hit theaters. The black comedy was directed by Helina Reijn and stars Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace and Pete Davidson.  

The ensemble stars a group of rich twenty-somethings who hunker down at their friend David’s (Davidson) mansion to party, drink and do drugs while a hurricane blows over. When Sophie (Stenberg) suggests they play “bodies bodies bodies” — a game similar to mafia or werewolf — actual dead bodies begin to turn up. What follows is a chaotic descent into madness as the friends lie, backstab and attempt to survive the night. 

This film could have easily been a disaster, as many writers that use Gen Z buzz words and Twitter-speak completely miss the mark when attempting to be relatable. The “Bodies Bodies Bodies” writers — Kristen Roupenian and Sarah DeLappe — carefully avoided this by making the characters outlandish enough to laugh at, but realistic enough to cringe at as well.  

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“Bodies Bodies Bodies” works because the film satirizes the self-obsessed and egocentric reality that these characters exist in. The group throws around accusations of gaslighting and cheating. They call each other toxic and manipulative. These trivial disputes are irrelevant in the grand scheme of their situation; it’s fascinating to watch them break down. 

In a brilliant moment of comedy, Alice (Sennott) defensively yells out that her boyfriend, Greg (Pace), is a Libra moon, and there’s no way he’s the killer. It’s moments like these that solidify how perfectly the film balances making a caricature out of chronically online “zoomers” while also portraying Gen Z accurately, albeit cringe-inducing.  

Even though these characters are outrageous, the actors portray them with a level of confidence and realism that makes them seem like people you could see in Washington Square Park or on the streets of Los Angeles. They’re insufferable, but they’re wickedly funny too.  

Pace and Sennott stand out, as they’re the most cartoonish of the bunch. Sennott’s natural physical comedy and laugh-inducing line delivery prove that she is a star in the making. Pace, a 43-year-old, 6’5” man, obviously sticks out amongst the group of young actresses, but his “himbo energy” and generally passive demeanor make Greg fit in. 

The film is not without its poignant moments, and the cast delivers in this regard as well. In the film’s third act, as the group airs out their grievances with one another in a wild screaming match, Stenberg, Bakalova and Herrold know how to bring the drama.  

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Sophie, a recovering addict, and Jordan (Herrold), one of her friends and the most “tough" of the group, argue about Sophie’s addiction, while Bee (Bakalova), Sophie’s girlfriend, remains quiet and timid. This argument may be a tad drawn out, but it leads to the fitting conclusion. 

As the story descends into chaos, the themes rise to the surface. This group of deeply flawed individuals shield themselves from having to confront their issues. They instead turn to artificial means of fulfillment: drugs, alcohol, tinder dates, podcasts — none of which can actually fix their problems, yet it’s practically in their DNA. This gives “Bodies Bodies Bodies” a somewhat nihilistic edge, but the comedy never falters. In fact, the final minute of the film is equal parts bleak, hilarious and perfectly ironic.  

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is meant to be seen with an energetic crowd, so don’t miss out on seeing this generation-defining film in theaters. 

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