Tropic Sprockets / Bodies Bodies Bodies

By Ian Brockway

Dutch director Halina Reijn has a clever and hectic hit with her English language debut “Bodies Bodies Bodies” from a script written by Kristen Roupenian of The New Yorker fame. The film is frenetic colorful and kaleidoscopic, satirizing argument-based films like “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” as much as “Halloween” or “Last House on the Left.”

[Bodies Bodies Bodies is currently playing at the Tropic. Go to for showtimes.]

A female couple in love, Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and Bee (Maria Bakalova) are going to a friend’s mansion for a hurricane party. As it turns out, no one told the snotty and spoiled home owner’s son, David (Pete Davidson) that Sophie was invited. This causes a rift between the other girls who turn up their noses. 

Drugs are introduced. An arrogant man Greg (Lee Pace) emerges fresh from the swimming pool. One of the girls initiates a strange slapping game involving hitting each other. This evolves into another bizarre game where the girls try to tag each other with the lights off. Whoever is tagged must play dead.

Seconds into the festivities, everything goes dark and there is a terrifying thud. David hovers against the door, his neck a bloody mess. David’s throat has been slit. 

This event sets off a chain reaction involving mistrust, paranoia and absolute terror in a house with no electricity or cell phone service. One girl blames the other in a sarcastic marathon of one-upmanship, all confusing and nonsensical, going back to high school years.

All of the girls blame Greg who is aloof, distant and nonplussed in any given situation. This causes Bee to stab Greg as she is overwhelmed with the latter who feels compelled to act like a werewolf and then attempts to reach for a knife.

The bodies do tumble here but there is also pointed commentary regarding the shallow and petty concerns of self-centered youth. The dialogue is purposely manic and hard to follow with each drama folding in upon the other so that the film becomes an amphetamine play by Edward Albee.

Comedian Pete Davidson in particular is terrific as the ghoulish and insincere brat who is the first to egg everyone on and tempt fate.

The cinematography is reminiscent of Wes Craven’s oeuvre as well as “The Blair Witch Project” with its eerie lighting and anguished expressions, while the music score unmistakably echoes John Carpenter’s aforementioned “Halloween.”

The rapid fire arguments are dizzying and by the time the near-orgiastic nonsense stops there is nothing scarier than a twenty-year-old woman wearing glow-in-the dark neck bracelets. 

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” glib manners might be off putting for some, but its madcap spirit is emotive and entertaining possessing a weird poetry that is singular, self-conscious and full of references.

Write Ian at [email protected]

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