I know this has to come to an end very soon, but I still find myself traveling down this long stretch of road where all stops are really great films. Never before have I been on such a roll and I couldn’t be happier as a film fan and as someone who writes about these films for fun. The latest treat to cross my path is Joe Begos’ Bliss.
Dezzy (Dora Madison, “Dexter”) is a talented artist who is struggling with a severe creative block. In search of inspiration, she falls back into old habits, leading down a path of drugs, sex, and murder.
Bliss is yet another of these newer films that I knew nothing about before pressing play. The only piece of information I had was that it was directed by Joe Begos who has done some incredible work in horror over the last few years with films like Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye. This was all I needed to know to go into this one willingly.
Before the film even begins, viewers are hit with a warning about flashing imagery. This warning is most certainly needed and if you are someone who suffers from seizures of any kind or is sensitive to this type of imagery in any other fashion, do yourself a favor and stay away from Bliss. If you do not have any problems in this regard, however, strap yourself in because you are in for one wild ride.
The movie begins by introducing us to our main character, Dez. Dez is a potty-mouthed painter who is struggling with her rent, her wise-ass boyfriend, and, quite frankly, everything else in her life.
It doesn’t take long for us to realize just how deep into it Dezzy really is and learn, just as quickly, how she copes with this type of adversity.
After Dez scores some drugs from her longtime dealer and friend, her first night of debauchery begins and our ride as the audience really starts to quicken.
Dizzying camera work, bright strobing lights, and a soundtrack and score consisting of punk, metal, trance, and electronic droning musical numbers immediately put you in the same headspace as our main character, pushing your senses to overload in a hurry.
With the majority of Bliss‘ 80 minutes utilizing these elements and the bright purples, reds, blues, and oranges that make up its color palette, it is visually and aurally stunning. This is what fans of the maestro, Argento, need to see in the modern age of horror and genre filmmaking.
Begos, who I’m now convinced is a genius, does not rely on pristine picture quality or unblemished photography to tell his story. Instead, he’s opted to splash pops, crackles, and other imperfections intermittently across the screen. This further perfects the formula necessary to get his audience into the same mindstate as Dez, as she spirals more and more out of control, doing every drug she can get her hands on.
As the newly inspired and more-productive-than-she’s-been-in-over-three-months Dezzy becomes aware of where her new found creativity is actually coming from, a bloodbath ensues and all who are closest to her soon fall victim to her new condition.
With the recurring brand of practical effects also seen in his previous work, writer/director Begos and his team provide gore fans with some of the most intense kill scenes I’ve seen in quite some time. Before tonight, I can’t remember the last time I actually yelled out loud, “oh my God!”
Bliss at Home
Bliss will be available on DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday, November 12, from Dark Sky Films.
The home release includes English 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks, along with optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
In terms of bonus material, fans are treated to two different audio commentaries with Begos, star Dora Madison, producer Josh Ethier, and the masterminds of the Russell FX Team. The commentaries are wonderful to listen to and help provide even more insight to the inner workings and making of Bliss.
Additionally, this home release features a deleted scene, and teaser and full-length trailers.
I pride myself on writing reviews that stay as far away from spoiler territory as possible. There is so much more that I can say about Bliss, but in fear of ruining the movie for those who have yet to see it, I will stifle myself.
Know this, however — Bliss needs to be seen by anyone and everyone who is able-bodied and willing to watch something new and exciting in horror. Between its gorgeous visuals and its jaw-dropping practical effects, this movie is arthouse meets charnel house… and it is breathtaking the whole way through.
The entire cast, consisting of Tru Collins, Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), frequent Begos collaborater, Graham Skipper, and even George Wendt (“Cheers”), do a remarkable job, but Dora Madison is the real star and a true powerhouse. The girl runs the entire emotional gamut, feeling and expressing every high and every low known to man in impeccable fashion. Simply put, she is a rockstar.
This flick is what I wanted Gaspar Noe’s Climax to be. In fact, set yourself up for an awesome double feature by grabbing both Noe’s 2018 flick and Begos’ Bliss.
Be sure to grab a copy of this one as soon as you can, as I give it 5 bomb-ass options out of 5.