Overview: Three friends looking for entertainment over Christmas vacation find more than they bargained for when they break into a mansion to party and have a deadly encounter with a stranger. Oscillosope Laboratories; 2015; Not Rated; 75 minutes.
Pretty Little Liars: The first half of Body, co-directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, showcases a limited amount of originality, unfolding a storyline that treads the familiar ground traveled by ’90s slashers such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, complete with the sexy, bad girl, the wide-eyed innocent one, and the burnout. As is par for the course, they end up somewhere they aren’t supposed to be, party a little too hard, and suddenly find themselves with a body to deal with. However, instead of the exploration of the aftermath of incident consuming the majority of the runtime of the film, Body applies most of its focus to the moral qualms these girls face, diving headfirst into how each of them view the weight of the consequences of their actions and who holds the most weight in this trio of reckless millennial power struggle. This method is a welcome change of pace to an otherwise familiar journey.
Three’s Company: Although each of the three protagonists share equal screen time, Helen Rogers creates the biggest spark as Holly, the good girl who always seems to draw the short straw and struggles the most with the get out of jail free plan they’ve concocted to escape their predicament. Holly’s grapple with her own emotions rings genuine, and when she finally reaches her breaking point, the sudden leap from meek, amicable follower to steely, manipulative leader is a believable, albeit surprising turn of events. At the very least, Body should be a useful springboard for Rogers’ acting career.
Silent Night: Body’s biggest downfall doesn’t lie in what it is but rather what it fails to be. Coming in at just over an hour, this film just doesn’t feel like enough. Almost the first hour of body takes its time setting up the players, allowing the audience to get to know them and witness their true colors under pressure; and then as soon as these characters are fully established, they are abruptly spun on their heads and the film is over. The beginning pieces are put into play with so much patience, and then thrown away as soon as the building tension finally begins to bubble over, which is a confusing decision considering the film’s length. An extra twenty minutes to flesh out the climax would leave viewers feeling fulfilled rather than rushed and then abandoned when they are led to believe their patience would finally pay off.
Overall: Although Body takes a unique approach to a familiar suspense story and feature a promising up-and-coming lead, its rushed climax leaves a sense of watching an unfinished product.
*Releases on VOD nationwide December 29th.