Warning: this article contains minor spoilers.
Halina Reijn wasn’t on TikTok before making ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’. But soon after joining the social media app to research Gen Z and youth culture, she was hooked.
“It didn’t really appeal to me before the movie, but now…I’m sucked into it,” Reijn said.
The obsession with TikTok is partly what has helped fuel Reijn’s passion for filmmaking, which hits theaters on Friday.
The film follows a group of social media-obsessed young adults (played by Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Pete Davidson, Rachel Sennott and others) who find themselves stranded in a mansion after a raging hurricane knocks out their power. To amuse themselves, they decide to play a game (the same as the movie’s title) in which a designated murderer “kills” someone by stalking them, leaving it up to the remaining players to figure out who the culprit is (think: an actual version of “Among Us”). Panic and chaos ensue when one of them is found dead.
Reijn said she wanted to examine the language Gen-Zers use to define themselves using TikTok and other social media platforms today — and what happens when those same identities are weaponized.
“When I was young, when I had a panic attack, I tried to hide it. I wouldn’t even know what word to use for it,” Reijn said. we have access to so much information.”
She continued, “Everyone knows all these words and has all this vocabulary, but do we really communicate? Are we really looking into each other’s eyes, or is it through a screen? »
This question is palpable throughout the film, which rarely contains a scene without a phone.
“It’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ meets ‘Mean Girls’,” Reijn said. “‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ was a great way to create a storyline that would deal with group behavior, human nature: is the killer on the outside or is he on the inside?”
As the night wears on and the survivors investigate their friend’s death, mistrust is sown and relationships are broken. And without electricity or cell service, what’s left?
“A beast”, according to Reijn. “We all have a dark current in there.”
Regardless of age and identity, Reijn said she also hopes the film reveals something more “animalistic, raw and honest” about human nature – and inspires viewers to consider its warning: turn off your phone.
“We’re all so addicted to our phones,” she said. “We’re not really in the moment, we’re not really looking at each other and we’re not really looking at what’s going on in the world.”