**there are major spoilers in this review.
Directors/writers: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen.
Cast: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina and Larry Fessenden.
Directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen's Body is set for an upcoming December release. The film involves a girl's night out, that leads to violence. Full of tension and conflict, Body is a decent thriller, which asks a few moral questions. Unfortunately, the mostly amoral trio of female characters are unwilling to make the right decisions. This lack of morality leads to bigger and bigger problems. And, Body has some connections with recent news stories, at American universities. Here, feminist delusions over rape culture and false rape accusations seep into the film's narrative. Relevant and controversial, Body is an entertaining watch, with the film asking viewers how they would act.
Parties often go wrong in the horror and thriller genre. That is the case here to as three girlfriends head out for a night of drinking. Unbeknownst to two of the young women, Cali (Alexandra Turshen) does not know the owner of the house, in which they have just entered. Holly (Helen Rogers) discovers the deception and so does a nearby groundskeeper. A brief scuffle leads to a brutal injury, with none of the girls ready to help the latest guest. From here, Cali does her best to cover-up an accident, by worsening the situation. She encourages the others to lie. But, events quickly move towards murder, with the victims not revealed here.
And, each girl has a different way at looking at the moral dilemma (offering the groundskeeper help). Though, it is not really a dilemma, in reality. If someone is injured, you get help. This responsive reaction would not make for much of a movie, however. Instead of acting justly, each of the three women acts very differently in response to the central tragedy. Mel (Lauren Molina) is a bit of a marshmallow as she looks to others to make decisions for her. She is in the middle of the moral compass. Cali, who gets the amoral ball rolling, is the least honest of the bunch. She does not even empathize with the injured groundskeeper, nor consider his position and desire for help. She is the villain in this picture. The third character, Holly, is the most moral of all three characters, but still amoral overall. This protagonist is conflicted by the groundskeeper's position; she has a conscience. But, she never actually acts morally, by telling the truth or acting non-violently. While Holly has a conscience, she is almost just as evil as the other two.
Body is very relevant to events that are overemphasized in the modern media. There have been several recent cases involving false rape accusations, at American universities. At the University of Virginia, an entire fraternity was accused of gang rape. This accusation was picked up by the Rolling Stone magazine, in a sensational article. The accusations led to career detriments for those in the fraternity. And, over time, it was brought to light that the accusations were brought about by an attention seeking female student. Now, a multi-million dollar lawsuit has been brought by Phi Kappa Psi against Rolling Stone. In another recent case, another girl brought rape accusations against another male student, despite her provocative, sexual messages to this man. This so-called "mattress girl" who showed serious signs of mental illness was still able to attend Columbia University, despite lying to university officials. Universities are becoming less about education and more about sensationalism as time goes on.
These cases are relevant to the Body. The girls choose to accuse the groundskeeper of rape, in order to save their own skins. Understandably, the groundskeeper is less happy with this strategy. And, with the recent cases in the media of false rape accusations, it is not a great leap to see three women using this same lie, to save themselves from any repercussions. The relevancy helps improve the film's believability and this viewer was completely drawn into the narrative. It is just slightly despicable to see how lying has become the norm in many institutions and in cinema, in modern times. Now, this growing amorality is being poked at by the Body, leading to a compelling story.
Body begins a run in theatres this December. A Video-on-demand release will follow shortly thereafter. This reviewer would encourage fans of thrillers to seek this title out. The film asks all sorts of questions, many of which are intriguing. How would you act in such a dire situation? Would you do the right thing? This viewer hopes your answer would be yes. Regardless of your response, the film forces you to think deeply of your own moral code and if it would survive such a stressful situation. The three girls fail, but this film fan is hopeful that most people would act more honestly and compassionately.
Overall: 7.25 out of 10.
More on the Columbia University case can be found here:
False Rape Accusations at Columbia University
A trailer for Body is hosted here:
A Body Trailer on 28DLA
Recommended release: Brotherhood at Amazon
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