Body, from Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, is an odd, hilarious, and vaguely worrying film about a group of girls who fake a rape in order to clear themselves of an accidental murder.
After the audio of a 911 call, Body zips back to a Christmas-coated suburban home, building a lovable family dynamic out of half-lame totally-sincere performances. Three teen girls, Holly (Helen Rogers), Cali (Alexandra Turshen), and Mel (Lauren Molina) relax with one of the girls’ little brothers, bored with festivity and looking for some fun.
The set-up promises so much more. We learn early on that Holly’s dad is in big-league politics, so there’s a possibility of kidnap, a kind of You’re Next on a cuter scale. But no. Instead this group of hapless gals makes their way to a mansion, under false pretence, for a night of free booze and partying. But things go wrong, the girls realise they have been tricked by bad girl Cali, who used to babysit for the family who really live in the house, and a neighbour (Larry Fessenden – Your Next, Habit) comes to catch them. Only he falls down the stairs, dies, and leaves the girls with a tricky problem.
Early on, Holly invites her boyfriend to the house, and the whole film is spent waiting for him to walk in on this escalating mess. It’s one of the few things that had me excited in the film: the prospect that these girls might just start killing anyone who stumbles on their transgressions, but no. Rather than embracing the ludicrous nature of the events Berk and Olsen take themselves too seriously. Like, ridiculously so.
For instance, once the girls have made the decision to blame the man for rape, in order to dodge jail time, they go all-out. A particularly nasty scene has Holly planting his fingerprints on her body. Of course, Fessenden wakes up whilst Rogers is rubbing his supposedly dead hands on her womanhood and the problem gets worse. The girls crowd around a phone and start wheezing and crying, setting each other off for a convincing 911 call, the same one we heard in the opening, and in the right hands it might have worked. Instead its cringey and ridiculous, what should have been part of a farce.
The message of the film is vaguely uncomfortable, as is any case where men write scripts about women faking rape. And its not really got much to say on the subject either. Luckily the run-time is sitting tight at 75mins so it doesn’t get as tiresome as it could.
Dir: Dan Berk & Robert Olsen
Stars: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden