Where do I begin talking about BODYSNATCH, a sci-fi comedy thriller from director Louis Benjamin Del Guercio? The story follows Jeremy (Paul Woolfolk) and Steven (Reese Mishler), who go for a police ride-along with Jeremy’s cousin Marcus (Christopher Wilburn). Jeremy and Steven are old buddies from high school who have grown distant since Steven went to college. After reminiscing and goofing around with Marcus, they pick up Emma (Sarah Davenport), an old high school crush of Steven’s, to join their ride along. But when Marcus has to answer a real police call, things quickly begin to spiral out of control, leaving the friends terrified and on the run.
The various aspects of BODYSNATCH range from average to laugh-out-loud bad. There are a lot of structural issues with this movie, but the main, glaring issue is that most of the dialogue is really cringey. Not only is it unfunny, but it’s also offensive. It wants to channel the Family Guy and South Park brand of edginess so badly: Marcus’ cop car is called the “Pimpmobile 86,” and he exclaims at one point, “Hold onto your cocks, dicks!” Marcus has a bevy of Razzie-worthy lines. Emma mentions a woman who goes to her yoga studio, and Marcus replies sleazily, “Ooh…bendable.” There is a convo about Marcus’ refusal to eat pussy, in which he says “My donut-eater ain’t goin nowhere near that honeypot.”
Worse than the middle school locker room jokes still are the homophobic and transphobic jokes casually inserted into the conversation. These jokes are forced, cheap, and tone-deaf for a movie about young people in 2018. Shame on the BODYSNATCH creators for their pointless zingers at the expense of the LGBTQ community, who are historically marginalized and threatened with similar rhetoric even today.
A lot of the movie is the characters talking in the police car, which gets visually boring real fast. That’s surprising for a movie that tries hard with its camera ideas, such as featuring smart glasses, security cameras, and a police car cam. The various types of camerawork aren’t cohesive, creating a dizzying blend of grainy police footage and higher quality digital footage.
There is a character called “Ill Dr. Phil” who has a quirky internet presence in the film. The strange YouTube character opens the film with a monologue warning of what’s to come, cementing himself as one of the more interesting characters.
Bits of the movie are well-written; if you squint you can kind of see what the writers were aiming for. With improved direction and acting, it could have been an okay movie about a few friends confronted with alien beings (or are they?!) So it’s a shame that the film is rife with inexcusable performances from everyone involved. There was no point in the film where the acting was believable. There was zero chemistry between the characters. It’s bewildering.
Don’t watch BODYSNATCH. It’s not good, and while there are a few parts that are unintentionally hilarious, it’s not worth sitting through the excruciating car conversations just to smirk at them. Consider watching Tragedy Girls or Annihilation instead if you’re looking for a cool action movie. In the end, BODYSNATCH is a dime-a-dozen sci-fi flick, ultimately bereft of substance or intrigue.