This is probably the first A24 production that I was disappointed with. I have not liked every single film that the company has made mostly because it happens to have a massive variety in the types of movies it makes, but even ones that I did not enjoy and knew were not for me, I could still see the craft and intent behind the film. With Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, the film felt more like favors owed or obligations for the financial calendar.
The movie’s trailer sold the film as a bombastic, colorful, loud teen (or young adult) slasher mixed with a whodunit mystery. Problem is that it does not really do either. There are few scenes that actually have frenetic energy (pretty much what you see in the trailer) and even fewer attempts at having any scenes or moments of solving the ongoing “murders” in the movie. In truth, I am unsure what genre Bodies, Bodies, Bodies actually falls into. Films that do not easily fall into definable boxes or categories are not bad by any means. Complexity can, and does, work, but the elements of genre and narrative building are still seen in the make up of the movie. Here, they are barely present.
Furthermore, as most, if not all, horror and A24 films, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies attempts to have some sort of social message within its narrative. And like the misuse of genre conventions, it also fails at delivering on social and political satire and messaging. The generous interpretation is that there is mockery of the Gen Z elites that make up the majority of the film’s characters. However, the few scenes and moments of dialogue that try to demonstrate this line of thought are poorly done and are not reinforced by the actual events of the film.
One of the key characterizations of the film’s characters is that the majority of them are privileged elites who use social justice language and ideas to justify their treatment of others and themselves. They are literally having a party doing drugs and drinking expensive bottles of alcohol in a mansion in the middle of a hurricane while passive-aggressively sniping at each other and trying to off load the blame for their situation onto the poorest and/or least liked person in the mansion. This could have been interesting commentary on actual social dynamics and power that the rich embroil themselves in, but the discussions go nowhere and the ultimate demises of the rich assholes are all accidental mishaps that have little to nothing to do with the dominant character trait their massive wealth and resources enable them to have.
Another example is the inclusion of two non elite, rich, privileged characters. One is the “final girl” heroine of the film and the other is an older gentleman from modest means (he seems to be a former veterinarian. The latter is unceremoniously killed off by the former in a misunderstanding. While, again, this could have been an interesting criticism of the “have nots” taking on each other to keep with the “haves”, the circumstances around the act bely any real attempt at such commentary. Truly, there were more buzzwords and show than substance.
Ultimately, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies was a disappointment because you see the unfinished and unfollowed threads that could have made this film into something at least approaching greatness. As of now, it loiters in mediocrity regardless of its cast or the goodwill of its producer.