Horror-movie fans are often pretty jaded about the sight of blood. After watching so many directors go down extreme paths with the most elemental of bodily fluids — Stanley Kubrick unleashing a tidal wave of blood from an elevator in The Shining, say, or Coralie Fargeat sending her characters in Revenge on a murderous chase that turns a fancy glass house into a blood-based Slip ’N Slide — it can be hard to get emotional about one more open vein.
The first trailer for A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies offers a shift back from that perspective, not by trying to drown viewers in more blood than they’ve ever seen, but by turning it into one of the more startling escalations in a teaser that’s already all about escalation. Bodies Bodies Bodies, which premiered at the 2022 SXSW media expo to a strong initial critical response, follows seven friends and hangers-on to an isolated house where they plan to party. Before long, they start an edgy deduce-the-killer social game along the line of Mafia, Werewolf, or Among Us. Obviously, things go wrong. The trailer shows the party rapidly escalating from slapping to weeping to, inevitably, the house losing power and the characters losing cell-phone service, as the murder game turns real.
“Familiar game but with with deadly stakes” is a fairly familiar mode for modern horror films, from Escape Room to Ready or Not to Werewolves Within. But the Bodies Bodies Bodies trailer stands out because of how quickly the players stop being eclectically stylish young people on a Spring Breakers-style drug-and-booze-addled vacation vibe, and become blood-smeared, tear-streaked victims-to-be creeping around a darkened house and attacking each other with Gen-Z buzzwords. (Lee Pace, the only 40-something in a cast of 20-somethings like Pete Davidson, Amandla Stenberg, and Maria Bakalova, underlines the Spring Breakers feel.) The blood starts showing up, unremarked on but smeared on people’s faces and arms, surprisingly early in the trailer. Then it’s on stairs and saturating clothes. Then it’s on weapons, and spraying through the air, and taking over the screen.
Even for horror fans, the ramp-up in this trailer is a lot — the tone, pace, level of violence, and especially the quantities of blood all accelerate at intense speeds. It’s a promise that actor-turned director Halina Reijn is taking this film to extreme places, and in fast, messy ways.
Bodies Bodies Bodies will debut in theaters on August 5, 2022.