Bodies Bodies Bodies and the Horror of Living Extremely Online

It’s a great way to break the ice as young Gen-Z actors. And it’s also a great way for old friends to pick at decade-long wounds, although as Bodies Bodies Bodies reveals, there are drawbacks to that too… such as what happens when one of your friends actually ends up dead when the lights come back on and everyone is ready to blame someone. Anyone.

The movie can be described as a highly allegorical satire of the modern Gen-Z experience where affected sophistication crumbles in an offline scenario—such as stumbling into a whodunit-cum-slasher movie. Which is to say it definitely has the hallmarks of an A24 genre picture, hence why the indie tastemaker picked this one up at the ground floor. The original screenplay is the debut script by author Kristen Roupenian, who received national acclaim after her short story “Cat Person” debuted in The New Yorker in 2017.

With a story that tapped into youth culture’s current anxieties about unhealthy friendships, bad dating habits, and otherwise how we relate to one another, Bodies Bodies Bodies was always intended to turn the Agatha Christie murder mystery conceit on its head by presenting a cast of suspects who instead of knowing nothing about each other, know everything—and use that as a weapon.

Part of the reason that weapon is so devastatingly funny and vicious though is due to longtime Dutch stage actress-turned-director Halina Reijn. The helmer brings an acute sensibility to the project, as well as playwright friend Sarah DeLappe who rewrote the script with an intense focus on what can be described as the deadliest weapon in both the world theater and on social media: the choice of words.

“Language can be used to totally destroy each other,” says Reijn when she joins her leading ladies inside the Den of Geek studio at San Diego Comic-Con. “We often forget, especially in the time of social media, but words do have power. It feels like they don’t because we can just tweet and [throw] everything into the world, but they do hit somebody, somewhere.”

In Reijn’s mind that proves doubly true for young people today whose use of words she describes as having the potential to be both “primal” and “sensuous.” To the filmmaker, this current culture represents the beast in ourselves. Reijn also credits her cast for adding to what’s on the page. Says the director, “They brought their own ideas to the script, and that’s very important for us. I’m 46. What do I know about young people? So I was very curious about what they had to bring to the table.”

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