Film

Indie Horror-Drama ‘Body’ Gets Smarter and More Provocative as It Goes

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The indie thriller Body may be short on action, but its deceptively simple premise masks a clever twist of an ending.

Set in an unspecified location on the night of Christmas Eve, Body opens on three college coeds bunking at one of their parents’ homes. The casting of the trio is predictable enough: There’s Cali, the sexy, reckless blonde (Alexandra Turshen); Mel, the funny, slightly homely brunette (Lauren Molina); and protagonist Holly (Helen Rogers), who fits somewhere in between.

Writing and directing team Dan Berk and Robert Olsen bring a sense of eerie dread to Christmas Eve, when every store is closed and the roads are dark and empty. Bored, Cali convinces her friends to drive to a nearby mansion belonging to her uncle, explaining that the house is unoccupied for the holidays. There, the girls’ drunken merriment ends when Holly figures out that the house belongs to a stranger and not Cali’s uncle. When a groundskeeper enters and discovers the intruders, he’s accidentally — and apparently fatally — pushed down the stairs.

The film centers on the girls’ dilemma: Do they call the police and admit to breaking and entering, or do they deal with the mess on their own? On the surface a typical exercise in horror-film cliché, Body turns out to be a far more thought-provoking creature, a parable of adulthood and a stinging indictment of white-girl privilege.

Body

Written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Opens December 11, IFC Center