Body is meatier than anyone would expect.
The movie begins predictably harmless: it’s the Christmas holidays and three girlfriends (Helen Rogers as Holly, Lauren Molina as Mel, and Alexandra Turshen as Cali) spend a Friday night playing Scrabble, getting high, and joking around with each other. While in their haze, they’re led to a vacant mansion by Cali, the rebellious member of their group. It turns out that there’s more to the party destination than meets the eye. An older male enters the house and starts hollering out to the trespassers. In a panic, the man is pushed down the stairs by Holly and is suddenly on the verge of death.
Holly, Mel, and Cali spend the rest of the night figuring out what their plan of action is. Do they report the accident and risk getting caught breaking and entering, or do they stage a crime and accuse the undisclosed and unconscious man?
If filmmakers/screenwriters Dan Berk and Robert Olsen skimp out on anything, it’s characterization – these characters are fairly thin. However, an argument can be made that this was done on purpose to push Body’s stumping moral dilemma to the forefront. Watching these three leads hash out and compromise an exit strategy is dark, edgy, and even a little funny. When Cali’s ideas show zero remorse, our amusement diminishes and our anxiety escalates as we realize how serious the movie is.
The female-driven thriller is carried well by its three leads with Alexandra Turshen making long-lasting impacts as Body’s most frightening, twisted individual. While the superb performances hold our attention, the filmmakers perfectly decode how far their film should go. Body – rather brilliantly – knows when to taper off on desperate measures as it transitions to higher risks. Instead of dragging the audience through strenuous and illogical circumstances, Berk and Olsen keep their intensity grounded through the desperate decisions found in their swift screenplay.
Body accomplishes a lot within a limited amount of time. The micro-budget thriller punches out at a mere 68-minutes before the credits slowly roll, but the filmmakers use each of those precious minutes wisely.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie