For ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Director, the Gen-Z Horror-Comedy Is a ‘Chekhov Play’ of Tragic Parody

Director Halina Reijn described the horror comedy starring Pete Davidson, Maria Bakalova, and Rachel Sennott as "'Mean Girls' meets 'Lord of the Flies.'"
Bodies Bodies Bodies
"Bodies Bodies Bodies"

The stage is set: a group of entitled Gen-Z-ers are holed up in a remote mansion during a hurricane, left to drink, smoke, and party through a storm. The only problem? One of the pals just might be a serial killer.

Directed by lauded Shakespearean actress Halina Reijn, the A24-produced “Bodies Bodies Bodies” premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival, and offered the Dutch multi-hyphenate the chance to have some real fun, with blood to spare. “My whole whole life has been ‘Hedda Gabler,’ ‘The Taming of the Shrew’,” Reijn told Entertainment Weekly. “I was like, Can I please have some f**king fun?”

Enter: a “‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘Lord of the Flies'” script by playwright Sarah DeLappe, based on a story from author Kristen Roupenian (who also penned the 2017 viral New Yorker short story “Cat Person,” itself currently being made into a film).

The film stars Pete Davidson as the party host, with “Borat 2” Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova, “Shiva Baby” star Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Amandla Stenberg, and Lee Pace as his guests.

“I’m obsessed with power and sexuality in a pressure-cooker environment,” director Reijn added, drawing on her theater background. “With all those classical works, we turned them into modern pieces. And we basically treated [‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’] almost as if it was a Chekhov play.”

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” was filmed at a real mansion in Chappaqua, an elite suburb in upstate New York and a property that distinctly captured the 21st century entitled wealth that Reijn set out to satirically slaughter.

“It was such an enormous house — you had a basketball court inside, a basketball court outside,” Netherlands native Reijn said. “I just thought it was a great symbol for narcissism and American wealth. Trump would have lived there, that’s what the house looked like to me.”

From intersectionality to racial reckoning allyship, nothing is off-limits to be skewered by “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” which ironically comments on the false appearances of wokeness. IndieWire critic Robert Daniels described the must-see summer slasher as a pointed black comedy attack on monolithic Gen-Z party flicks.

“It’s what the film interrogates — accidental mania and socio-economic fueled distrust — that sets this sharp script apart,” Daniels penned, citing the TikTok parallels for the twisted climax. “Whether any of this ages well is anybody’s guess, and probably secondary to the point of this very present film. But it’s the uproarious image of rich kids without WiFi, descending into frothing at the mouth, bloody madness, that makes Reijin’s ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ an unmistakable Gen Z anthem for blood.”

A24 will release the film in theaters on August 5.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.