Body (Movie Review)

Director: Dan Berk & Robert Olsen | Release Date: 2015

3

We've all been there. You get bored and break into a rich looking house, drink all their booze, experiment with some illicit drugs and then boom...you kill the groundskeeper. Such is the case in Body, the debut "feature" from Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. I say "feature" for two reasons: one being that this is a concept much better suited as a short film and two it may as well have been a short film clocking in at 75 lean minutes. 

As alluded to above, Holly (Helen Rogers), Cali (Alexandra Turshen), and Mel (Lauren Molina) decide on Christmas Eve to occupy Cali's uncle's richie rich home for a night of debauchery. The only problem is that Cali lied and not only is her uncle and family not out of town for the holidays but the home they've taken temporary residence in is not her uncle's and the groundskeeper, Arthur (Larry Fessenden), stumbles upon the trespassers. After a skirmish Holly accidentally pushes Arthur down the stairs and seemingly kills him. Not being the brightest bulbs in the pack, the trio spend the rest of the film cawing at one another about morality and how to proceed about their lives- naturally, no one agrees otherwise Berk and Olsen would only have a 20 minute movie on their hands. 

The directing duo also penned the screenplay which, credit where credit is due, has some interesting thoughts here and there about character's motivations to do what they do. However, those moments are few and far between as the three anti-heroes often make some pretty baffling arguments to their cause- even more baffling are the actions taken to cover up their crime.

In a genre commonly criticized for treating women unfairly or portraying horrible acts of violence on the female population by predominantly male antagonists the film adequately flips the script. However, Berk and Olsen do so in a pretty vile and ultimately somewhat timely fashion- focusing on a dastardly cover-up culled together by the three leads.  The solution the three conjure up is made all the more wicked due to the demeanor of their victim- a solution best left vague as if you are to pull any enjoyment out of Body, it'll be by knowing as little of the twists and turns the film takes along the way. 

The abbreviated runtime certainly suggests that the directors were working from some pretty slight material and worked hard to stretch this thing to at least some form of feature length. Unfortunately, by doing so a lot of the film's potential is stretched simultaneously making it equally as thin as the performances by the three leads. However, Rogers leads the way in the most grounded of the trio. Yet her work isn't nearly enough to pull the film out of the clutches of mediocrity. 

Body settles to be about as generic and uninspired as it's annoyingly bland title. Feminist viewers will likely find their cause blemished by the terribly villainous nature of the female characters which flips on the second they are faced with adversity. Even with its compact, length Body overstays its welcome even before the dial hits the half hour mark, making the rest of the film an intensely strenuous experience. Oh, and if you decide to search it out, make your Google searches good and detailed- you don't want to get sucked into the "body" rabbithole. 

Luke

Writer

Horror movies and beer - the only two viable options for entertainment in the wastelands of Nebraska as far as he's concerned. When he's not in the theater he's probably drinking away the sorrows of being a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

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