Julian (The Film Seeker)’s review published on Letterboxd:
With the rise of the "elevated" specialty that marks A24's most prevalent style of horror films, there's been a growing contingency of detractors who dare to say "NAY!" in the face of all that pesky nuance and subtext. Well, A24 may not be entirely removed from the Ari Aster business, but the distributor is nothing if not a cinematic lifeline for the self-proclaimed artistically inclined subsection of the meme generation. Thus comes the company's more recent expansion towards straightforward slasher horror films with a twist; following up Ti West's X and preceding Ti West's Pearl with Halina Reijn's latest, Bodies Bodies Bodies.
As with X, Reijn's sophomore film isn't entirely lacking in subtext. Rather, where West wrapped notions of ageism and free love in a veneer of gore and tits, this film's "sub"-text in reality takes on the form of incredibly obvious, neon-infused satire. The satirical point being made is—and stay with me now—"Gen-Z is vapid and toxic." Now is the Dutch actress-director going to blow any minds with this revelation? No, and a film like Bodies Bodies Bodies runs the very real risk of alienating viewers with how direct the low-hanging fruit that is its humour actually becomes. For those on the film's wavelength, there can be deeper discoveries made without resorting to the oft-hated realm of the "elevated."
The toxicity of this group of barely-adults is apparent the second they all end up under one roof, and beyond painting a realistically anxious portrait of a shallow dynamic in which petty beefs fuel every interaction below the surface, it also makes for a decent narrative drive. Were these characters more secure, supportive and upfront rather than being in constant attack-and-defense mode, then the mystery of the killer (which wasn't nearly as predictable to me as I've been led to believe—maybe I'm stupid) could have been solved well before they claimed their second victim.
Primarily, the vapid dynamic at play, fuelled by prescription xannies and daddy's top-shelf champagne and cocaine, is played for laughs. The laughs themselves, mainly courtesy of Shiva Baby ingenue Rachel Sennott, are just as direct and easy as anything else you'd expect from this film. Which is to say that, depending on how you respond to Sennott's delivery, you'll either be laughing as intended or wishing you were the killer, standing next to her. The rest of the cast is also worth shouting out, as Amandla Stenberg and Myha'la Herrold make it clear with each cold stare that a shared history is afoot, while Maria Bakalova—the only Oscar nominee in the cast, FYI—comes through with a mousy, rigid demeanour that makes her entirely questionable. The true star of Bodies Bodies Bodies is, as expected, Pete Dav—...A24 themselves, who continue to prove that they have a finger on the pulse of the current generation. And with Halina Reijn's help, that pulse is shown to be far more alluring from behind a screen than when these bodies are in the same room.