BLISS (2019) Reviews and overview

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Bliss is a 2019 American horror feature film written, produced and directed by Joe Begos (VFW; The Mind’s Eye; Almost Human).

The movie stars Dora Madison, Tru Collins and Rhys Wakefield.

Los Angeles: Known for her dark and macabre artwork, painter Dezzy Donahue (Dora Madison) is in a professional rut.

Unable to finish her newest commissioned work, Dezzy looks to reignite her creative juices by letting loose-as in, taking every drug available and tearing through raucous house parties and heavy metal bars.

After a few nights spent with her debauchery-loving friends Courtney (Tru Collins) and Ronnie (Rhys Wakefield), though, Dezzy notices changes within herself.

On the positive side, she’s finally painting again, but she’s also developing a strange desire for blood. As someone who has never been able to control her vices in the first place, Dezzy is quickly and violently consumed by this bloodlust…

Bliss was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April. A Dark Sky Films press release asserts that Bliss “roars with searing visuals, kinetic energy, an endearing nastiness, and a ferociously all-in lead performance from Madison. The movie was released in limited theatres and on VOD platforms on September 27, 2019, and Blu-ray by Dark Sky Films on November 12, 2019.

“There’s a good movie buried somewhere in Bliss, but at the end of the day, it seems like the filmmakers were trying way too hard to bring artificial edge to a story wielded too bluntly to be cutting. The result is a film that’s completely pretentious about its trashiness, and the trash is so clueless as to its extremity that it becomes comic.” Birth. Movies. Death.

“Begos has two effective weapons in his filmmaking arsenal that can be counted on in his work, which definitely applies here; his vision for practical effect driven gore and Josh Ethier’s talent for film editing. Dezzy’s vampiric transformation begins as a drug-addled psychotronic miasma that builds into one blood-soaked third act, giving ample room for both the viscera and editing to soar.” Bloody Disgusting

“The final act of this film, for me, is one of the best horror finales of the last decade, and Begos does a fantastic job building the world and characters in preparation. This film will not be to everyone’s taste […] However, if you are a fan of dive bars, expressionist art and vampiric action, then this is a film not to be missed!” BRWC

“If you want to watch drugged-up twentysomethings engage in orgies, insult each other, and unironically complain about how hard they have it while colored lights strobe and metal music blares beneath effusive ennui, Bliss may be a movie for you.” Culture Crypt

” …a perfect showcase for Begos as a filmmaker who continues to prove that he always has new ways to approach familiar elements in horror. An ambitious and grim hallucinatory trip into the hellscape that is the creative process, Bliss makes for a memorable addition to the ever-growing pantheon of blood-sucking cinematic fare…” Daily Dead

“Madison is believable as Dezzy, surrounded and increasingly annoyed by the clubflies and sleazebags that surround her. But for all the noise, blood and dizzying camerawork, this felt like rather a conservative film dressed up as something more dangerous, and left me rather cold.” Dark Eyes of London

” …despite Madison’s fearless, full-frontal performance, lacks a truly empathetic protagonist and drowns in shouty, profane dialogue. It winds up suitably nihilistic but curiously uninvolving. That said, Begos unleashes a rip-roaring rampage of spurting gore, limb-ripping and old-school meltdowns in the second half…” HorrorScreams VideoVault

“For Bliss‘s positive qualities and creative triumphs, the film does stumble in the final act. With all of the film’s questions answered and mysteries revealed Begos relies on the film becoming some kind of a splatterfest to keep our attention. The characters that show up and what happens to them is alternatingly confusing, surprising, and bloody fun.” Killer Horror Critic

Bliss is a lot like The Mind’s Eye in which it feels like our time with these characters is a part of something much larger. We’re simply gaining a peek into this world for an hour and change. The story, while simplistic, is masterfully executed.” Modern Horrors

“Thankfully once the killing starts we get plenty of dead @ssholes. Granted it takes until 50 minutes into an 80-minute film for it to happen but it makes up for lost time fast. This isn’t a couple of fangs in the neck blood-drinking. Fingers are bitten off, chunks of flesh ripped out of bodies, etc. And all done with exceptionally realistic practical effects and shot on 16mm film to add to the retro feel.” Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

  • Dora Madison … Dezzy
  • Tru Collins … Courtney
  • Rhys Wakefield … Ronnie
  • Jeremy Gardner … Clive
  • Graham Skipper … Hadrian
  • Chris McKenna … David
  • Rachel Avery … Nikki St. Jean
  • Mark Beltzman Mark Beltzman … Lance
  • George Wendt … Pops
  • Abraham Benrubi … Abe
  • Jesse Merlin … Dante
  • Matt Mercer … The Bloody Man
  • Josh Ethier … Bobby
  • Jackson Birnbaum
  • Susan Slaughter


The Mind’s Eye

Almost Human

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