Friends come together at a mansion before an approaching storm to get down to some debaucherous fun. What could go wrong? Well, by the standards Bodies Bodies Bodies lays out, a lot can. At first, everything is light and playful. Then, an innocent game gets played that may show the cracks within the long-fostered kinships, and somebody might end up dead. It’s a cosmopolitan twist of slasher horror, a whodunit mystery, and a Gen-Z comedy spliced by director Halina Reijn. It might not be as frightening, but the film strives to make up the distance, scattering horror tropes into an enjoyable puzzle that keeps you guessing.

Bee (Maria Bakalova) is amidst a passionate and growing six-week relationship with her girlfriend Sophie (Amanda Stenberg). While in this honeymoon phase, Sophie decides Bee should meet her longtime, wealthy comrades during a lock-in get-together at her friend’s David (Pete Davidson) dad’s mansion. Bee initially seems a bit out of her working-class league, juxtaposed to the eccentric ensemble. (She brings zucchini bread as a gift, after all). Sophie’s friends are comprised of the energetic Alice (Rachel Sennott) and recently met, hippie much older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace), Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), who has a romantic past with Sophie, and David’s girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders). The mansion has robes, champagne, music, and drugs for everyone to indulge in.

However, isolation might not be the environment that brings out the best in people — especially when you account for mind-altering substances and unspoken grudges. This is where Reijn and screenwriter Sarah DeLappe Clue-like paranoia comes to rear its head. After a quick game of “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” which is another way to play tag — the twist is once somebody discovers the “body,” the group comes back to discuss who they think is the killer. From there, everything comes apart. Jealously, secret hatred for podcasts, resentment over rehab stints, and more come out of the wash. If things can’t get any worse, one of the group ends up dead while the power goes out. The finger-pointing and backbiting follow an upswing until the film’s end.

Where Bodies Bodies Bodies finds success the most is the back-and-forth portrayal of the cast. Rachel Sennott brings spontaneous hilarity, while Bakalova seems to bring level-headedness to an increasingly tense situation. There are moments when Bee will surprise you — increasing her suspect radar. Everybody left has something they are hiding or have been waiting to say. Are there still feelings between Sophie and Jordan? Is Emma as nice and meek as she seems? The film tries to subvert expectations in each person’s horror character types.

There are a few moments where Bodies Bodies Bodies looks to cultivate the classic slasher-like tension. Jasper Wolf’s camera placement keeps characters back in the frame while they walk through darkness and uses faint light from Glo-sticks. Many of those scenes mirror themselves after a while — primarily because it’s tough to develop new scenarios in a limited setting. The satisfaction will arise in how everyone is committed to bringing this premise to life.

It may leave you asking how any of these people are friends in the first place — even looking into the shallowness that having boatloads of money at your disposal can turn people hollow. But don’t mistake Bodies Bodies Bodies as a message movie. It pokes fun at the triviality of its characters just as much as it has fun. Some might take a double take, noticing A24 — a distribution company known for its more abstract horror choices has wrapped itself around a straightforward slasher. A change of pace hurt no one.

Photo Credit: A24