BODIES BODIES BODIES and the Horrors of Wealth, Class, and Bad Human Nature

A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies—directed by Halina Reijn with a screenplay by Sarah DeLappe and story by Kristen Roupenian—is a hilarious slasher whodunit with a twist. The film follows a group of rich 20-something friends who throw a hurricane party at David’s (Pete Davidson) family mansion. But when one of them turns up dead, built-up resentments and jealousies unravel the party. Full of self-aware lingo from the disconnected rich, Bodies Bodies Bodies it feels like “eat the rich,” or watch the rich self-destruct, come alive. There is the horror of death but, for Bee, the horrors of wealth, class, and petty human nature play out in front of her, changing her life forever.

Sophie (Amanda Stenberg) and her partner Bee (Maria Bakalova) arrive at a party with the former’s friends. The gathering itself is bizarre considering the circumstances. When hurricanes come, most people evacuate and stress the cost of destroyed property. However, this bunch of affluent young adults throw a party as the storm looms. Bee is an outsider and, like the majority of the film’s audience is not rich. So it is easy to connect with her point of view among this group. Immediately, there is lukewarm excitement at Sophie’s arrival, which makes you wonder 1) why she came and 2) why she would bring Bee into this tense atmosphere. (It turns out Sophie went through rehab and her family seems to have cut her off from their wealth for now, but she grew up wealthy like all her friends.)

We meet this spoiled and entitled group. There’s the aforementioned David and his girlfriend, Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), an aspiring actress, though thanks to family wealth, hardly a starving artist who gossips about her cocky boyfriend. Jordan’s (Myha’la Herrold) family is working class rich and jealous of Bee and Sophie’s relationship. Then there is Alice (Rachel Sennott), a podcaster, who makes a distinction between inherited wealth and wealth from working parents and her new, much older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace), who was a vet. 

The social and economic differences between Bee and the others is an uncomfortable horror within itself. In the beginning, Bee does what any good guest would do: she brings food to David’s house. For the average person, this is a common gesture; however, the group looks at her with a snotty “gee thanks” attitude. Their reaction immediately makes an already uncomfortable situation even worse. She’s now in a house for the foreseeable future and a minority in the sense of wealth and class.   

four young women stand in a line covered in dirt, makeup, and blood and looking afraid in bodies bodies bodies trailer
Gwen Capistran/A24

Their conversations and interactions further isolate Bee. They have the luxury of pursuing dreams with any degree of ferocity they choose because they do not worry about bills. Everyone is insufferable and constantly competitive with each other. For example, there is blatant animosity between David and Greg because David does not think Greg is “that hot” even if he can slice a corked bottle open with a sword. David feels threatened when another man is around who outshines him, as evidenced by the unseen Max, who left the party before Sophie and Bee’s arrival after giving David a black eye. 

Jealousy abounds, creating the perfect atmosphere for the ensuring mayhem that comes from their decision to play a murder mystery/ mafia plus tag game called “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” Jordan is jealous of Sophie’s relationship with someone who is “beneath her.” The storm outside is not the only one brewing. When the game begins, they all have to take a shot and slap the person to their right. Here the animosity is glaring, as David hits Greg hard. He harasses Greg to explain something, claiming that it is a “teaching moment,” which causes Greg to leave. A “teaching moment” is supposed to be a positive lesson, but David weaponizes it and the language to attack Greg. It’s yet another nod to the general “rich and clueless” aura in the air.

For the audience, it’s fun watching unlikeable people who live in their spoiled, entitled world drop like flies. But for Bee and Sophie, it becomes a living nightmare. As they decide who to vote off as the killer, they have nothing to go on. So they start to argue, using their issues with each other as evidence—a theme that runs throughout the film. Once people start dying, they accuse each other despite having no real evidence, just petty jealousies. After David accuses his girlfriend Emma, claiming she is the killer and she is just acting innocent because she’s an actress, they vote him off, and he leaves in anger. Ironically, the situation then flips. 

photo of a group of young adults screaming in the rain and wearing bathing suits and robes bodies bodies bodies movie

They discover an actual body (gasp!) and the group immediately suspects Greg, the vet and other outsider besides Bee. They find and confront him after discovering his bag with a map and knife. While trying to defend himself, Bee, thinking Sophie is in danger, kills him with a kettlebell to the head. They kill him off because they do not know him and they assumed vet meant war vet. But Alice points out he was a veterinarian’s assistant. Again, their emotions and assumptions lead to death.    

Interestingly, Emma the actress dies off camera. No spotlight, no awards, and no attention. Her body is at the bottom of the stairs. They again assume that the killer pushed her down the stairs. Now it’s Bee’s turn to be labeled the killer because the “poor girl” would do it. And she’s now a threat after Greg’s death. Bee could be any of us if we were trapped with rich people dying off. We just want to stay quiet, aware, and ride it out until we can get out of dodge. But we’d probably be accused of murder and get roped into something by trying to protect someone. 

Classist Alice, another who misuses words like “silencing,” dies next after Jordan accidentally shoots her. Must be galling to die at the hands of someone in a lower income bracket. You truly cannot feel sorry for such awful people. The remaining three is the “love triangle” of Bee, Sophie, and Jordan. Jordan has quietly tried to come between Bee and Sophie throughout the film, accusing Sophie of cheating on Bee with her. She even demands with her dying breath (as Bee pushes her off a railing) that Bee check Sophie’s texts with her dying breath. Jordan is so wrapped up in driving a wedge between the couple that she refuses to let it go. That’s commitment. 

BODIES BODIES BODIES and the Horrors of Wealth, Class, and Bad Human Nature_1

And, after all that, it turns out that David was never murdered. His need to be the top dog in his fancy mansion is what killed him. Inebriated, he attempts to do the same trick Greg did and slices his neck with the sword. None of what they thought was real, until they manifested it themselves. Majority of the deaths were a series of misunderstandings and accidents.

Their laissez faire attitude about storms, inability to look past assumptions and their own biases is what escalates the situation. They feel untouchable, in a world of their own. Death ensues and there is no way to contact the police for help because the hurricane knocked out the power. They are trapped and never foresaw any issues arising that their money, lavish home, alcohol, and drugs could not remedy. And, while Bee survives, she unfortunately will bear the consequences of a night with the rich and lawless.

Bodies Bodies Bodies shows how class, money, and the negative parts of humanity like sheer jealousy can turn into a series of horrors. And, it is a reminder that maybe, just maybe, throwing a party in the middle of a weather disaster and tossing in a murder game isn’t a great idea. Especially if the majority are rich, spoiled, and filled with jealousy.

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