“Who wants to play Bodies Bodies Bodies?” If you learned anything from the new A24 horror comedy, the answer to that question should be a resounding no, especially if you’re in a remote mansion during a hurricane. In “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” what starts as a fun party game between a group of wealthy Gen Z friends, turns into a shocking and bloody fight for survival where no one can be trusted — no matter how many weeks you’ve been dating or how active you are in the group chat. The film, directed by Halina Reijn, boasts an all-star ensemble cast consisting of Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson and Lee Pace, each of whom fit their outrageous characters to a T. With a script brimming with internet slang, the film captures the shallow iPhone obsessed Gen Z stereotype while also tackling friendship, betrayal and classism.
If you’re in the mood for more hilarious female-led dark comedies, look no further. Here are five films that challenge and satirize societal issues through a blend of horror and comedy that are perfect follow-ups to a “Bodies Bodies Bodies” viewing.
Female friendships are complicated, especially if your best friend is possessed by a man-eating demon and you’re maybe just a little bit in love with her. Nerdy high schooler Needy (Amanda Seyfried) has always lived in the shadow of her best friend and popular cheerleader, Jennifer (Megan Fox), but when Jennifer goes on a flesh-eating rampage against their male classmates, Needy is the only one who can stop her. Directed by Karyn Kusama and with a hilarious and clever script by Diablo Cody, “Jennifer’s Body” embraces campy horror tropes and high school stereotypes to create a poignant commentary on female friendship and competition, and sexuality and rape culture. This feminist satire went unappreciated upon the film’s release in 2009, due to the misogyny directed against both Cody and Fox at the time, as well as 20th Century Fox’s male-gaze-focused marketing that tried to appeal to college-aged men. Fortunately, the film has now achieved cult classic status and is an endlessly quotable staple in queer feminist horror.
“Jennifer’s Body” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
If you love “Bodies Bodies Bodies” for its headfirst dive into internet slang and culture, then “Zola,” a black comedy based on a viral 2015 Twitter thread, should be next on your watchlist. Also produced by A24, the film follows Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress who agrees to go on a weekend stripping trip to Florida with Stefani (Riley Keough), despite the fact they’ve only known each other for a day. Zola gets a lot more than she bargained for and what follows, in her words, is the suspenseful “story about how me and this bitch here fell out.” Zola’s blunt voiceover, which often consists of exact quotes from her real Twitter thread, creates a distinctly 2010s atmosphere and brings humor to the 2020 film’s shocking world of guns, prostitutes, pimps and jealous boyfriends. Director Janicza Bravo worked side by side with the real Zola, A’Ziah King, who served as an executive producer, to portray King’s atypical experience accurately and discuss friendship, betrayal and sex work in a way that is wildly entertaining, dark and sometimes even whimsical.
“Zola” is streaming on Showtime and Hulu Premium.
Rachel Sennott is an inarguable standout in “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” so it only makes sense to check out her feature acting debut, “Shiva Baby,” a 2020 black comedy about Danielle (Sennott), an aimless college student, who runs into her sugar daddy and her ex-girlfriend while sitting shiva with her parents. At the Jewish funeral event, she is repeatedly questioned about her post-graduation plans, and Danielle lies to save face, while also trying to maintain the various personas she puts on around each person. The film isn’t violent and bloody like the others on this list, but the horrifically awkward social situations Danielle gets herself into are just as anxiety-inducing. The close-up, handheld style of the camerawork coupled with an unnerving, dissonant score further emphasizes the true horror of Danielle’s social anxiety and existential crisis. Directed by Emma Seligman, the film is a must-see, especially for young people overwhelmed with questions about who they are and what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
“Shiva Baby” can be streamed on HBO Max and Hulu Premium.
“Ready or Not”
If you think Bodies Bodies Bodies sounds like a scary game, just wait until you see the Le Domas Family’s take on Hide-and-Seek. When former foster child Grace (Samara Weaving) marries Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), the estranged son of the owners of the Le Domas Family Game Company, her new relatives, force her to play their traditional wedding night game. After Grace pulls the Hide-and-Seek card, a night of bloodshed and betrayal begins as Grace hides while the family hunts her down. The 2019 film is a scathing satire that mocks the ultra-wealthy Le Domases and their unbelievably selfish nature, presenting similar social class commentary as was apparent in “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” all in an even bloodier fashion. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett perfectly craft a hilarious and outrageous anti-capitalist narrative, and Weaving’s vengeful and desperate performance is dead on.
“Ready or Not” can be streamed on Hulu Premium or rented on Amazon Prime Video.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” takes a few stabs at modern dating culture but not as much as Mimi Cave’s “Fresh,” which takes a whole bite out of it. Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is fed up with the endless cycle of modern online dating, putting herself out there time and time again only to be met by rude, emotionally unavailable men. When she meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) at a grocery store, he’s charming and sweet and Noa thinks he might be the guy she’s been looking for. About thirty minutes into the film, what seems like a romantic comedy turns into a gory thriller when Steve reveals his true colors. What follows is a jaw-dropping and blood-dripping story of deception that challenges the objectification of women that occurs not only in the dating scene but also in the rest of society. This feminist dark comedy, also released this year, finds the perfect blend between humor, gore and suspense to critique modern society in a way that’s endlessly entertaining.
“Fresh” is available for streaming on Hulu.
By Emily Ince