Let the ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Hit the SXSW Red Carpet: A World Premiere To Die For

Image for this story

Austin correspondent Annie Lyons is back on the red carpet for the world premiere of Halina Reijn’s horror-comedy with a star-studded cast of Letterboxd faves, including MVP (and Letterboxd member!) Rachel Sennott.

A hurricane party at a fancy mansion takes a turn for the worse when a harmless game veers towards the deadly in A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, which premiered to a rapturous response from the Letterboxd community last night at the South by Southwest Film Festival

It’s been quite the fest for A24 so far, as they’ve already launched flashy premieres for the Daniels’ big-hearted sci-fi action adventure Everything Everywhere All At Once (covered here) and Ti West’s gore-to-the-rafters grunge horror X. This latest millennial macabre from director Halina Reijn (written by Kristen Roupenian, Sarah Delappe, Chloe Okuno, Joshua Sharp and Aaron Jackson) adds another success story to what’s looking to be a very promising 2022 slate from the indie distributor. 

If the SXSW response is any indication, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a film you’re going to want to see in a theater when you get the chance. Letterboxd member Anna practically insists: “Maybe it’s the incredibly energetic theater i’m in, or that i grew up playing murder in the dark, but i loved this. what a freaking trip. i genuinely think this had the loudest applause i’ve heard all of sxsw so far.” 

Comparisons to Agatha Christie (“A24-ified AND THEN THERE WERE NONE”) and Clue (“but make it alt & gay”) popped up all over the first Letterboxd responses from the film, while Reijn offered members the perfect triple feature at the post-screening Q&A when she described Bodies Bodies Bodies as “Lord of the Flies meets Mean Girls.” 

With a truly banging call sheet featuring Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders and Lee Pace, it’s no surprise to see reviews call out praise like “each cast member is a star,” but for everyone who is forever on the glorious ride that is the Shiva Baby train, it should be even less shocking to find the Letterboxd cup overfloweth with proclamations that Sennott, in particular, is the MVP. 

Josh Ruben, director of last year’s similarly pitched isolated paranoia horror-comedy Werewolves Within, had no interest in mincing words in his review: “Rachel Sennott is a goddamn genius.” It is a unifying theme: “I need more of rachel sennott in every single genre she is EVERYTHING,” writes Kendall, while Ryan proclaims her “a fucking star,” and Oriana keeps it simple: “rachel. sennott.” 

A Letterboxd member herself, Sennott stopped to chat with us on the red carpet about how the film fits into her favorite genre: “movies where girls are walking around and doing stuff.” 

After drawing comparisons between Bodies Bodies Bodies and one of her four Letterboxd faves, Jennifer’s Body, a film which was “so ahead of its time,” Sennott reflected on being drawn to incredibly stressful roles (a connective theme between Shiva Baby and her latest). “I think I like women who are interesting, and I feel like interesting women are stressed.” 

In anticipation of what might happen when she opened her Letterboxd app after the screening, we asked Sennott if she reads her own reviews on the site. “Absolutely,” she confirmed. “Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but yeah. I love Letterboxd. It’s so fun.” 

She also gave us a brief tease for Bottoms, her next co-writing collaboration with Shiva Baby director Emma Seligman. It’s about two unpopular, queer high school students who start a fight club to have sex before graduation. “I’m excited, after this Emma and I are shooting our next movie, and that’s a camp comedy,” she told us, “and we can relax.” 

Relaxing certainly wasn’t in the mind much for Bodies director Reijn, who told us about how playing these “murder in the dark” or “werewolf/mafia” games herself influenced her desire to take on the project, saying “it’s like psychological warfare,” and describing how she rewrote the script in order to lean more into that element of the story. 

“It’s not so much to me about ‘were you in the kitchen when I was in the living room?’ I don’t give a shit,” she says. “I like that it’s about emotions and psychology and toxicity and narcissism and vanity and how life is so banal. So, even though this film is about entertainment and I hope it is fun, at the same time I hope that people can see this dark underlayer in there asking why are we all addicted to our phones? Why aren’t we all looking at each other and at what is going on?” 

Take a friend, or several, to see Bodies Bodies Bodies when A24 drops it in theaters at a date yet to be announced—just make sure to watch your back, because you never know who you can trust. 

Pictured: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders, and Rachel Sennott.

—Reporting by Annie Lyons (in Austin), additional reporting by Mitchell Beaupre (at Letterboxd HQ)