Body Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Matchbox Film
Written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen
2015, 75 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 31st August 2015
Helen Rogers as Holly
Alexandra Turshen as Cali
Lauren Molina as Mel
Larry Fessenden as Arthur
Adam Cornelius as Ben
Oh shit, there's a dead body. Now what? It's a familiar movie dilemma which has become almost a subgenre of its own, tapping into apparently universal fears of accidentally murdering someone and not wanting to face the consequences. The idea has kept many a soap opera going over the years.
Feeling like an episode of Hollyoaks gone bad, Body follows three young women, drunk at Christmastime, as they break into an empty house and accidentally drop the man they find there (not so empty after all, then) down a flight of stairs. Suddenly, there's a dead body on their hands and life changing decisions to be made.
To say much more than that would be to spoil a well-crafted, tense little thriller that lives and thrives for its twists. Like Shallow Grave and Stuart Gordon's underrated Stuck, it takes a stupid decision and makes it worse, its originally likeable characters becoming increasingly desperate and cruel, turning on each other and making a terrible mess of the whole affair. Opening with the girls playing a game of Scrabble and smoking a spot of pot, it gives us time to get to know them before asking us to choose a side. Disarmingly funny and likeable, it gives no suggestion as to how dark things are going to get.
And make no mistake, Body gets plenty dark. It half-climaxes at around the halfway point with something so incredibly black that the film finds itself at a crossroads of its own making – keep going, or back away. Where it should have doubled down and kept up that impressive sense of nasty invention, instead it baulks – settling down into a rhythm and story many have seen and told before. The recent Cottage Country shows how it's done, maintaining the unpredictability and plot twists right to the end, realising that there simply just being a dead body that no-one knows how to deal with isn't going to cut it anymore. For too long Body goes without momentum, spinning on its wheels amidst all of the bickering and lies.
Body does what it does well enough, but is ultimately hamstrung by its peaking too early and lacking the courage to take its ideas all the way. In spite of its best intentions and technical prowess, it's just too shallow.