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Slamdance 2015 Review: Body

The film Body, which plays at Slamdance, and hopefully will receive a theatrical release, is mainly successful in getting a reaction. The reason that Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s Body succeeds as a film, though, is because of a failure, and that failure being the instability and insecurity that comes with choice-making.

The girls of Body, Holly, Cali, and Mel, (Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen and Lauren Molina) need to break away from stability, which in the film at least, leads to boredom. But in doing so, in freeing themselves from the monotony of being with parents on Christmas Eve is they face choices and deal with the consequences. What is interesting about the film is that even though it involves a veteran horror actor, Larry Fessenden, it isn’t so much of a horror films because in horror, the consequences do not necessarily apply. Here, they matter extensively, and while the girls each take a different tack on handling their situation, the choices clearly matter.

BODY 2015In a traditional horror film, the emphasis is on shock value and splatter, and, quite frankly, external stimuli. In Body, the reactions are largely internal, the choices personal and subjective.

Surprisingly, the most negative character of the film is not necessarily the one making the wrong decision. On the surface, Body fits into conventional decision-making, (the Angel, the pragmatist and the Devil), but in its heart, (its Tell-Tale Heart, the beating of its hideous heart), there is little sense of divine order and justice. The Devilish one may not be as unsympathetic as the Angelic one, perhaps most so in BODY’s brutal, punishing parting shot. Berk and Olsen’s film is spare (but filled with dis-spare), but the one moral that sticks with us, and is not properly addressed until each audience member considers it, is what would we do? How would we dispose of or engage with this BODY, the BODY in motion.

That is the question worth asking.

[star v=35]