When a group of affluent 20-somethings (and one clear as day 40-year old) have a party at a mansion, an attempt to play a party game turns deadly.
THE GOOD STUFF
Performances– This is a solid cast. Everybody has their moment to shine, and when these actors get that moment, they are all just fine with what they get to do. Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, and Rachel Sennott stand out in this movie’s third act, and Amandla Stenberg continues her streak of playing detestable characters in movies that I despise…all the while playing them very well.
THE BAD STUFF
THE 1ST ACT- The first act of this movie reminds me of those Larry Clark Harmony Korine horseshit Gen-X movies of the early 1990s. Long, laborious shots of make-out sessions with no music in the backdrop, young people jumping up and down with no rhythm whatsoever to pulsating music of the era.
This movie seems to be dedicated to showing millennials how silly they are. I like that idea, but I believe there were better ways to depict these rich young people’s lives than showing me shots of doing drugs and partying that I’ve seen from 100 other movies by this point.
THE UGLY STUFF
Trust – it is not at all a spoiler to tell you that this movie takes place in a huge mansion and flat-out tells you in the first 5 minutes of this film that a massive storm is heading right in their direction. The blackout that eventually hits the mansion is THE critical element in this film to build all of its suspense. Then, in the film’s second act, we get more in-depth into the characters’ motivations, personalities, and inner demons. It’s nice. It’s well done… And then the lights go out…
*Steps on soapbox*
I am really self-conscious about criticizing cinematography. Of all the things I can talk about (in terms of filmmaking), cinematography is what I know the least about. I have no idea how much work goes into shooting an independent horror movie that had to have been on a low budget like this one.
However, I feel that no matter what your budget is, and no matter your stylistic choices of shooting your film, I think that I have the right as a filmgoer…to PROPERLY SEE WHAT THE F*** IS GOING ON IN THE SCENE! I don’t feel this is me being persnickety in any way, shape, or form. I understand that this is an A24 movie, and I can only imagine there’s not very much money to throw at stylish type camera tricks, but I, the moviegoer, have to see what’s going on. I have to see the details.
I must see every detail when one character is chasing another through a dark corridor. When four people are piling on each other for the possession of a weapon… I HAVE TO SEE EVERY DETAIL. When there’s a fight between two central characters in THE film’s climactic fight scene, I HAVE TO SEE EVERY MOTHER F****** DETAIL. Call me crazy, but I do not feel that it is those times in your movie to get cute with the camera work even though everything is poorly lit.
Not even kidding here; there is a scene where a character goes out of the house and simply runs to the nearby vehicle in the parking lot. For some reason, during this scene, they have this shaky cam going on like a fight scene from a Jason Bourne movie, while the f****** hurricane rampages through the background.
I understand that atmosphere is essential; I genuinely do. But I have seen MANY independent horror films get this right even if the movie is flat-out trash. Unfortunately, for some reason, this film really, really, chooses doesn’t do that. And it’s bad enough to take you away from what else is happening.
*STEPS OFF OF SOAPBOX*
Sometimes, a promising premise and a good idea can get ruined by stylistic choices. Sometimes you just gotta keep it simple. Bodies bodies bodies happens to pull off something I feel is incredibly hard to do, which is to have a good amount of solid performances, and a decent enough script… only to be a staggeringly disappointing movie-going experience
Bodies bodies bodieS is in theaters now.