‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Brings Comedy to Horror


What can go wrong during a weekend at your rich friend’s remote mansion when you’re playing a game and the power goes out? Famously, a lot.

Bodies Bodies Bodies is A24’s newest horror comedy, and it’s about a group of well-to-do 20-somethings who find themselves stuck together when they throw a hurricane party that leads to an unexpected murder. The notable film distribution company (whose electric flavor of films stand out from the rest, with modern hits like Midsommar, hereditaryand Everything Everywhere All at Once) takes this age-old concept and imbues it with new blood.

Full of sharp humor, quick wit, and a killer soundtrack, the 90-minute flick directed by Halina Reijn, written by playwright Sarah DeLappe, and based on a story by Kristen Roupenian carves out its own lane within the genre. It digs its teeth into the cerebral, self-deprecating nature of the rising generation and is riddled with smart commentary about societal woes pertaining to social media, mental health, affluency, romantic relationships, and more prevalently, friendships. Rather than shying away from the frivolity and lunacy of today’s world and the genre itself, the movie masterfully blasts it. It’s stylishly campy, fully self-aware, and a riot of a good time.

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Each decade has its own crop of cult classics that are sneakily, or not-so-sneakily, reflective of their time. Bodies Bodies Bodies could be the tonally daring whodunit that ushers in a new era of beloved teen slasher pictures. Audiences can expect satirical therapy lingo (“You’re always gaslighting me!”), TikTok dance breaks, and horoscope talk (a Libra moon, but of course). More than anything, viewers can anticipate excellently executed lines and magnetic group chemistry from the likes of Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace, and Pete Davidson that make it hard to look away from the screen.

Ahead of the nationwide release of Bodies Bodies Bodiesstandout stars Stenberg (The Hate U Give, The Hunger Games) and Sennott (Shiva Baby) talk to Shondaland about the tone of the film, their favorite scenes to shoot, the near-12-page scene that was originally scrapped from the movie, and what the horror genre is currently missing out on.


MIA BRABHAM: Would you say this movie is through the lens of Gen Z? Or how the world perceives Gen Z?

AMANDLA STENBERG: It’s a satire, so a little bit of both, hopefully, if we layered it right. I think it’s a film with a lot of precision and accuracy and deep, dark humor. It holds up a lens to the factors that lead us to becoming the worst parts of ourselves. So, it’s not necessarily about holding up a mirror to Gen Z and saying, “Look how terrible we are,” but more so “Look what is born out of the very absurd circumstances within which we live.”

RACHEL SENNOTT: Ooh. Hopefully it’s a little bit of both. I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being made fun of. When we were playing the characters, I always wanted to be on the side of my character [Alice]. Everything she’s saying, she’s saying for a reason. I never wanted to be winking at the audience, and I hope that people see themselves reflected in a way where you can kind of make fun of yourself but also appreciate the culture and the generation as well.

MB: Aside from the jump scares and the plot twists, which were all awesome, is there anything else about the script that surprised you when you first read it?

RS: Sarah DeLappe is a playwright, and I think she’s such a good writer. I hadn’t seen a script that was so stacked with dialogue. There were these scenes that were 15 pages long where it’s two characters talking at once. You see that, and you’re like, how are we going to do this? Because lots of times, it’s like, “How are you?” “Good.” “Bath.” “I’m whatever.” It’s everyone talking at once. Then we got to the rehearsal, and we all started doing it at the same time, and it started to flow in this very natural way like a conversation. It was so wild and special to do.

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ASH: I think the tone surprised me. It wasn’t something I felt like I’d ever read before. It reminded me of some of my favorite slasher films and horror comedies that inverted the genre and turned [it] on its head and made something meta and unique. But what was so unique about this one is the deeply intellectual, competitive culture of this friend group and how that was almost the thing that was the most terrifying about them.

MB: I’m curious: What are your favorite slasher movies?

ASH: I’m definitely a big scream fan because that’s the one that turns the genre on its head the best, and that’s one of the most meta slasher movies that exists.

MB: Rachel, you had so many good lines. I’m curious if you had a favorite that stands out.

RS: Thank you. I feel like I always say a different line every time, like, “Actually, this is my favorite.” I mean, there were a lot of lines. We got to improv a lot, which was so fun. The body dysmorphia line was initially “I have anxiety.” And then I was like … ‘Well, I have body … I mean, I have anxiety too, but I have body dysmorphia,’ so I just said that. The ally line was really fun. And the Libra moon [line], honestly. When I read that in the script, I was like, “I need to say that line. I have to say that line.” It’s funny because you read it on the page, and it’s a joke, but in the moment, she’s like, “What do I know about this guy?” And desperately searching for anything. That one was a lot of fun.

MB: Coming from a Libra herself, I absolutely love that you said that.

RS: I think a Libra moon would never murder someone. I have to say, I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

santa monica, california march 06 rachel sennott poses during the imdb portrait studio at the 2022 independent spirit awards on march 06, 2022 in santa monica, california photo by irvin riveracontour by getty images for imdb

Rachel Sennott poses during the IMDb Portrait Studio at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards.

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MB: Do you have a favorite scene that you loved to shoot or one that kind of took you by surprise?

ASH: We probably could all agree that it was so much fun to film the complete dissolution of our relationships once we’ve reached a point of no return when it comes to our state of mind and our relationships to each other. I don’t want to give anything away, but it has to do with the podcast. That scene was about 12 pages long, and it’s something that we worked on together. Originally, it was scrapped from the movie.

MB: What?!

ASH: I thought it was so deeply brilliant, and it was like the spine of the story and the irony of all of it; it was kind of the crux. It was so important, so we were able to work it back in. We worked on it together as actors to make it the most cohesive script. I think on the day of shooting, we were still printing out sides because we had this new version that we felt like, “Okay, this could be the moment in the story that encompasses everything the best. It could be our climax; it could be our microscope.” So yeah, that scene.

RS: The girls kind of speak the things that they’ve been sitting on for, sounds like, years, and all kind of come at each other. I think there’s things that in your head you’re, like, you can never say that to your friend because it’s this deep-seated thing. And in that scene, we all get to say our deepest, darkest secrets, basically. And that was really fun.

san diego, california july 22 amandla stenberg visits the imdboat at san diego comic con 2022 day two on the imdb yacht on july 22, 2022 in san diego, california photo by vivien killileagetty images for imdb

Amandla Stenberg visits the #IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

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MB: You were such a cohesive cast, and it was really fun to watch you all on the screen. So, my last question is: What makes this horror film different from other horror films right now? What sets it apart?

RS: I think it’s a blending of tones, where in a way it’s almost more of a whodunit. I think it leans more toward a Clue than a scream. I think Halina [Reijn] did an amazing job directing us so that we were always never playing the comedy, always playing the drama. So, I think that created a really interesting blend of tones that’s very unique.

ASH: Ooh. Honestly, I think there’s not enough comedy happening right now. Things are quite serious, it seems. What I love so much about the horror movies that I got to grow up with was they were often quite campy and bold and promiscuous, and I hope that we kind of fall in the lineage of those films because sometimes the only way to deal with the ugliest parts of humanity is to laugh at them.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Bodies Bodies Bodies opened in select theaters on Friday, August 5, and opens nationwide on Friday, August 12.


Mia Brabham is a Staff Writer at Shondaland.com covering entertainment and lifestyle by day, and a dreamer of all sorts by night. her debut book, note to self, is a short collection of life lessons that is in the hands of readers all over the world.

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