Showing @ VUE West End, London, Fri 28 Aug 2015 @ 18:35

Available on DVD & digital from Mon 31 Aug 2015

Dan BerkRobert Olsen / USA / 2015 / 75 mins

Billed as a thriller, but with a distinct subversion of horror elements, Body follows Holly (Helen Rogers), Cali (Alexandra Turshen) and Mel (Lauren Molina) during the early morning of Christmas Eve as they party in what they believe to be Cali’s uncles house. Shortly after arriving, they discover they have in fact broken into a stranger’s home and are confronted by the groundskeeper. Believing him to have died after they accidentally push him down a flight of stairs, the girls form an elaborate plan to make it look like he attempted to rape them. Thus begins the majority of this film’s problems.

The biggest and most glaring of these is the characterisation of the three leads. At the drop of a hat the girls go from ditzy, or wanting to confess to the police, to being capable of planning and covering up a murder. Be it due to the writing or the acting, neither option ever feels wholly convincing, making it difficult to connect or relate to anybody. You never really feel bad enough for the groundskeeper to want the girls to get caught, yet never like any of the girls enough to want them to get away with it. All of this isn’t to say the performances are terrible, just inconsistent; Turshen is clearly in her element, and even shines on occasion, but only once her character suddenly changes from the flighty blonde party girl, to one capable faking rape and committing murder.

Body does have some truly tense and unsettling moments – in particular Turshen’s murderous scream timed nicely with a smash cut from directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen – the problem is that they are few and far between. As good as this particular scene is, it also highlights the film’s weaknesses, essentially being repeated a few moments later to lesser effect with Rogers’ character in what should have been one of the narrative’s most dramatic points. The result is a film where you’re vaguely curious to know what happens next, but never truly care when it does.

In the end, it’s Body’s frequent flip-flopping that really lets it down, basically making the second half of the third act completely pointless. One can only assume it’s just for sake of having an all too predictable twist at the end.

An interesting premise for a murder story, sadly let down by poor execution.

Showing as part of Film4 FrightFest 2015