BODIES, BODIES, BODIES – Review by Susan Granger

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Summer blockbuster season is definitely over when this kind of horror/slasher trash worms its way into local theaters. The obnoxious, rich 20-somethings in Bodies, Bodies, Bodies don’t die soon enough for me.

Here’s the set-up: five longtime friends and their respective companions gather at a remote vacation house on the eve of a predicted hurricane.

The massive suburban mansion belongs to the parents of David (Pete Davidson), who brings his actress girl-friend, insecure Emma (Chase Sui Wonders); recovering addict Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), now sober, totes her new Slavic girlfriend, nervous, working-class Bee (Maria Bakalova).

Vapid podcast host Alice (Rachel Sennot) has her immature, 40 year-old lover, Greg (Lee Pace), whom she met on Tinder (“He’s a Libra moon!”), and – last but far from least – there’s perfectionist Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), Sophie’s competitive, judgmental ex.

After some pool pranks, including a breath-holding contest, they retreat inside, uncocking a bottle of champagne, downing tequila shots and snorting lines of cocaine.

Then they decide to play an improv game in which players ‘kill’ someone by touching them. Whomever discovers the ‘murder’ yells: “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” – and everyone has to figure out who the ‘killer’ is. The chaotic shrieks and scares are supposed to be great fun until – one after another – various participants are brutally slaughtered. Whodunit? Who cares?

The original social satire idea came from Kristen Roupenian. But her original draft, which had everyone caught in a snowstorm, was discarded when Sarah DeLappe took over scripting, so now Roupenian only gets story credit.

Dutch actress Halina Reijn’s directing debut, Instinct (2019), was Netherlands’ Best International Film Oscar submission; it also reflected her passion for psychological character studies, particularly the concepts of narcissism and betrayal. Problem is: she stages it like a shoddy, humorless theatrical play, chronicled by cinematographer Jasper Wolf (Monos) , replete with iPhones and glow-sticks.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies is a toxic 2, playing in theaters.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.