Bodies Bodies Bodies: And Then There Were Neon

The isolation of affluenza, a hundred miles from civilization and far too self-consumed to recognize or feel empathy for anything in your orbit. It’s all presentation, keeping up appearance, portraying a façade of humanity and wearing a mask of function to cover the rooted discontent and the fragile walls protecting a bottomless pit of insecurity. Eventually it’s all just a series of twisted defense mechanisms all interlocking in a constant battle of cagey dialogues, every conversation a game of backhanded comments trying to extract some kind of upper hand within the social ladder. Nothing is real, and as the hours pass and as the substances turn to a cocktail of angry chaos in the mind all the falsities slowly slip away, calm and collected liveliness turning to vitriol and slurred acerbic ranting.

A horrifying proposition to be thrust blindly into the midst of it all, the destructive vortex of corrosive personalities far more eminently dangerous than the gale force winds and torrential downpour tearing up the manicured landscaping and destroying the carefully curated chemical balance of the pool. This is the harrowing gauntlet of social landmines that Bee (Maria Bakalova) is pushed into by her girlfriend Sophie (Amandla Sternberg), the pair headed up into the remote mountain mansion of Sophie’s childhood best friend David (Pete Davidson) to party during the weekend a hurricane is due to pass over. As the rain starts to fall and the wind starts to pick up it’s clear that the storm is mere novelty to the group of wealthy millennials (who all spend a majority of the film trying to downplay their own privilege), all excited to crack on the glowsticks and consume every drug they have on hand when the lights go out.

Bodies Bodies Bodies. Dir. Halina Reijn.

It becomes abundantly clear without much preamble that Sophie isn’t as welcome as she pretends she is, receiving a combination of backhanded comments and fake excitement, each member of the party quickly revealing the convoluted and obscured intricacies of all these intertwined relationships. David’s girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) and lone seventh wheel Jordan (Myha’la Herrold) make their irritation clear while Alice (Rachel Sennott) affects shrill excitement and introduces Sophie to her uncomfortably older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace). David is clearly jealous of Greg and seems to hold little affection for Emma, Jordan shoots razor sharp daggers at Sophie, Alice plays all of it off as if nothing is amiss, and caught in the middle is a quiet and visibly uncomfortable Bee, clearly not thrilled with her situation but putting up with it for the sake of the excessively doting Sophie.

Tensions run hot as neon lights dance across the massive house, drinks and drugs flowing fast, rapidly taking it all even higher as jealousies become more apparent and things start going in dangerous directions on the dance floor. It’s hard to tell if the film is going to descend into an acid-laced bloodbath akin to the delirious madness of Climax (2018) or become a gory, coked-up home invasion slasher among the company of You’re Next (2011), but instead it reveals its hand as a neon-lit whodunit when one of their party is found, neck slit and covered in blood beneath the pounding rain on the back patio. A contemporary “And Then There Were None” for an age of disconnected affluenza and thudding baselines, lined with out-of-touch characters spewing buzzwords as defense mechanisms and constantly trying to undermine each other, completely blinded by self-interest in pursuit of trying to point the finger away from themselves.

Bodies Bodies Bodies is a deliriously good time that unfolds with constantly escalating chaos, the characters so vapidly caught up in their own main character syndrome that all semblances of trust vanish instantly, quick to pull out dirt and bring up traumatic pasts just to misdirect attention, the home slowly flooding with more and more blood as all of the paranoia slowly collapses under the weight of their own egos. The backhanded acidity of each character is as consistently hilarious as it is fascinating to track, trying to plot out each individual’s motivations as you furiously attempt to place who among the group is a cold blooded killer, but the longer the film lingers the more hopeless it feels, each of them as obviously motivated as the next for their own absurd reasons, all steeped in jealousy or rage. The glowsticks fade, the sun rises, floors covered in debris, blood, and bodies, and the answers are as obvious as they are clever, perfectly apt among all the madness as you awaken in a blinding daze, as discordantly under the influence of all the lights and insanity as the rest of them.


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