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The SOAS Spirit Film Review – Spooky Edition

  • Culture

By Toby Oliver-Clarke, BA History

“An outlandish Gen Z horror–comedy, a murderous maiden, and an allegory of feminist resistance”

With the days getting shorter, nights longer, and cuffing season truly upon us, it’s high time that the Spirit released our spooky film recommendations for Halloween and beyond. Featuring an outlandish Gen Z horror – comedy, a murderous maiden, and an allegory of feminist resistance, the following films are guaranteed to keep you entertained throughout the next few months (cuddling buddy not included).

As a movie fan with a guilty pleasure for offbeat comedy-horrors, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a film that fills me with both glee and dread. The movie follows a privileged group of teens attending a weekend “hurricane party”. When the jock of the group David is found dead with a gash across his throat, a frenzied hunt for the mystery killer ensues. What follows is a series of events which are somehow both comedic and relatable. The group laughably attempt to solve the murder through the medium of Tik Tok, all whilst insulting each other’s podcasts, dealing with fractured relationships, and the societal judgment that can come with same-sex partnerships. Whilst ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ may not be the most polished film on this list, it certainly is a film which is designed to both entertain and intrigue, with a few laughs guaranteed along the way. And hey, even if it fails to do the above, you might just pick up some social media stalking skills on the ride.

Second on our list is “Pearl”, a psychological horror directed by industry veteran Ti West, and written by artist and writer Mia Goth. The films follow the life of its namesake, a young German immigrant living in rural Texas alongside her husband, her father – who has long been paralyzed – and her overbearing mother, Ruth, a woman keen on asserting her place as the matriarch of the family. As the film progresses, we witness the idyllic life that Pearl’s family built descend into depravity. Long deprived of life’s vices, Pearl seeks out that which had been missing from her life so long, scene by scene she embraces the hedonistic thrill of sexual exploration, substance abuse, and ultimately murder. A film that stays with the audience long after its closing credits, Pearl is a movie riddled with intricacies. Whilst Pearl is ultimately cast as the movie’s villain, the audience can’t help but sympathise with her. Suffocated by her mother and denied the joys so easily granted to the men around her, the film feels somewhat like a vengeance tour, a useful reminder that what goes around will always, eventually, come around.

The final film on this list is Don’t Worry Darling. Starring Harry Styles (in his first leading role in a major motion picture), and horror industry favourite Florence Pugh, the film charts the life of the affluent young couple as they move to the new 1950s-esque company town “Victory”. The men of the Victory are all employed by the town’s namesake company, whilst the women are encouraged to stay out of their husband’s business and stay away from the ominously anonymous “Headquarters”. Alice (played by Pugh), delves deeper and deeper into the activities of Victory, and soon discovers that the company is far from the benevolent giant which it appears. As she becomes woke to the evil being perpetuated by Victory, the other women of the town join Alice in her quest for autonomy and justice and seek vengeance upon the men who have long played the twin roles of husband and captor. Ultimately, “Don’t Worry Darling” is a lesson to all, the oppression of women results in the oppression of all.

All of the films listed above are now available for viewing in all major motion cinemas. 

Photo Caption: “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” is in Cinemas now (Credit: A24 Films).

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