What better time is there to become embroiled in a morally taxing situation than during the Christmas holidays? That’s the situation three girls-next-door find themselves in Body. This indie thriller pulls no punches and attempts to shock audiences through vicious betrayals and lots of tension.

Cali (Alexandra Turshen), Holly (Helen Rogers), and Mel (Lauren Molina), are three best friends who eat, drink and get merry at Mel’s house during the Christmas break. When they tire of the gorging, Cali suggests they visit her uncle’s mansion for some late night antics. They head off to the grand house, and it’s all fun and games…at first. However, things begin to change when Cali reveals she’s taken some liberties with their jaunt, and their escapades are interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Soon the girls find themselves at a moral crossroad when a traumatic incident leaves them with a tough decision to make on a frigid Christmas Eve.

Body is a lesson in restraint for the viewer. The three main characters are each despicable in their own way; Cali with her callous logic, Mel’s constantly quivering lip, and Holly’s doe-like fear will eventually get to you. Fortunately, it seems that’s the point. These young women play caricatures of conscience as they debate over the fate of a stranger and their own lives with a dash of back-stabbing on the side. It takes a while for the film to get going but their obnoxious natures eventually creates enough tension to make the audience wonder what they will do next and where the film will go.

There were a couple of weird character introductions that were misleading and puzzling, but the overall premise was good. With the occasional grating moment aside, the performances effectively highlighted the not-so-nice elements of the trio. None of them are likeable, and the script and cast made a great go at conveying this, with Turshen in the driver’s seat when it came to being the queen of self-serving moral corruption.

Despite the low-budget and the plotline blips, directors and writers Dan Berk and Robert Olsen were able to stay economical in the film’s style, giving us a clean-looking production with their smart use of locations and minimalist sets. They’ve also created their own take on “mean girl” characters who cross many a line and create unlikely villains and victims alike. This is their first feature and they’ve shown their talent, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

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