Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies: The Making of Halina Reijn’s Searing Satire of Gen Z
“I simply put all my modern points, themes and frustrations into [the slasher] format”: director Halina Reijn delves into her new movie Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies – a horror spin on Gen-Z life
Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies, Halina Reijn’s searing satire of Gen Z, opens with a real second of tenderness. Amid light-dappled greenery, Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and her girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) kiss passionately, gaze deep into one another’s eyes and say, “I really like you” – earlier than we reduce to them going through aside, clutching their telephones near their faces.
This shortly eclipsed intimacy, giving method to a grinding hyperpop soundtrack from Charli XCX and Slayyyter, is simply one of many digs made by director Reijn at how expertise has completely reworked the best way we join with one another as human beings. Reijn’s stance, nonetheless, isn’t certainly one of disapproving observer however somebody who understands this wrestle for shut relationships all too nicely. “It’s relatable, proper? How usually can we flip away from our family members and begin texting in our actual life?” says the director.
Couple Sophie and Bee are en path to a celebration with Sophie’s pals at a rustic mansion belonging to David (Pete Davidson). (“They’re not as nihilistic as they appear on the web,” Sophie tries to reassure Bee.) The movie’s forged, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders and Myha’la Herrold, are every launched swimming serenely within the mansion’s pool, however, when Sophie arrives unannounced, she fairly actually troubles the waters. With tensions between these filthy wealthy characters working excessive, the group’s resolution to play a murderous sport that night time, ‘Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies’, doesn’t bode nicely.
The opening scenes of Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies have all of the makings of a basic teen slasher flick, though, because it quickly transpires, the movie is much from an easy frightfest. Within the basic slasher setup – suppose Halloween, Scream and Friday the thirteenth – minors are contemporary meat for masked killers, flesh-eating viruses or the strolling lifeless. To not spoil an excessive amount of, however in Reijn’s movie, there isn’t a such monster – “when the wifi goes out, the demons are available”, the director says, and her characters’ particularly Gen-Z anxieties are free to run riot. “I simply put all my modern points, themes and frustrations into [the slasher] format.”
“I wished to have these characters which might be each narcissistic and useless, but in addition very, very scared,” says Reijn. “All of us now are rising up in entrance of cameras. That often would solely have been actors and folks within the public area, however now it’s all people. Our concern of not being fairly sufficient, not being fascinating sufficient and never being within the limelight sufficient is completely destroying us, it appears.”
Reijn’s function is being launched amid a sequence of shake-ups within the horror style. Muscling its method into the mainstream and breaching arthouse territory, its evolution from a kind as soon as overcommitted to its personal tropes led critic Steve Rose to coin the time period ‘post-horror’ in 2017. With its stark emphasis on interiority and the horrors inside, Trey Shults’ home-invasion chiller It Comes at Evening was named as one of many first entries on this putative new style. However it was maybe Shults’s follow-up, Waves, that first skilled a post-horror lens on particularly Gen-Z considerations, a drama true to the crippling depth of younger Individuals’ emotional lives coping with heavy matters from drug abuse to the psychic fallout from pressures heaped upon younger folks’s shoulders in a racist society.
Whereas Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies is nowhere close to as emotionally wracked as Waves – Reijn’s movie is, at coronary heart, a comedy – it shares a fascination with younger folks navigating a world of tension, linking it with a brand new tide of movies and reveals together with Shiva Child, Zola and HBO hit Euphoria. Shiva Child, one other movie starring Rachel Sennott, unravels with all of the ratcheting suspense of a horror film – thanks partly to Ariel Marx’s horror-inspired rating – although you’ll discover no axe-wielding murderers right here. As an alternative, its bounce scares come within the type of the protagonist’s sugar daddy, spouse, youngster and her ex displaying up unexpectedly at a shiva she is attending together with her mother and father. Like Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies, Emma Seligman’s debut function dissects the anxieties connected to expertise’s prevalence in Gen Z’s lives and all of the ever-shifting ideology this entails.
Shiva Child’s reflective but droll exploration of feminism, monetary freedom, physique positivity, intercourse work and bivisibility feels akin to Reijn’s curiosity in Gen-Z points. Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies generally holds these matters as much as ridicule, characters protesting about being triggered or gaslit on the smallest provocation, however the movie’s tackle these youngsters of outrageous privilege isn’t unsympathetic. “Rachel turned to me throughout a dinner and mentioned, ‘You realize I’ve physique dysmorphia, proper?’” says Reijn. “And, after all, this touched my coronary heart as a result of I’ve all the time hated my look. I’ve all the time hated my physique. However this was a consequence of my occupation, I believed [Reijn worked as an actor before stepping behind the camera]. However now I see my nieces they usually all have that. They even get monetary savings as a result of they suppose, ‘After I develop up, I can change all of it.’”
In Shiva Child, Sennott’s character’s cellphone acts as a ticking time bomb. Zola, Janicza Bravo’s adaptation of a viral Twitter thread, can also be punctuated by the chirrups and buzzes of notifications, as one lady is unwittingly dragged right into a world of pimping and violent feuds. One particularly nightmarish scene, the place Stefani (Riley Keough) has intercourse with a seemingly limitless line of males, is harking back to one other notorious second from current tv historical past, dubbed the ‘30 penises scene’.
With the latter scene, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson claimed he was paying homage to the enduring opening sequence from Brian De Palma’s Carrie, during which the eponymous character menstruates for the primary time in a woman’s locker room. Whereas the present, credited as “TV’s most sensible portrayal of tension” by Nylon, is by no means pure horror, its nods to the style play right into a wider onscreen motion linking the Gen-Z expertise – notably with reference to our bodies, sexuality and identification – to a hellscape. With bleak employment prospects, financial collapse and impending local weather catastrophe on the horizon, it is hardly shocking that this era might even see the world in shades that border on horror.
Reijn’s subversive slasher generally laughs on the fears of its protagonists, however in the end, says the director, she is laughing at herself: “I don’t have youngsters, so I really feel actually like some gap in my soul has been stuffed by these women, as a result of I really like them a lot. I look as much as them. They’ve taught me lots about inclusivity, feminism, being relaxed with my nervousness and my panic assaults. I used to have so many panic assaults within the wings, and I might actually go to a physician. I might by no means converse to colleagues about it. This new era truly brings an openness to that and an consciousness to the purpose the place you can also make a joke about it.” The whoop and whistle of notifications flooding David’s cellphone, as reception is restored, is Reijn’s punchline – a reminder that, for a lot of within the movie’s supposed viewers, horror could be constructed from the uncooked materials of lived existence.
Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies is out now.