If The Lost Boys had a wild strung out cousin, this would be it. In a simple summary, Joe Begos’s Bliss can be described as a film about a vampire who struggles with painting her self-portrait. Only it is so much more than that. It’s an assault on the senses. It makes you experience everything the protagonist, Dezzy (Dora Madison) experiences. Every breakdown, every drug, every fear, every flicker of inspiration.

An artist drained of her creativity, Dezzy has spent the last three months staring at a half-finished canvas struggling to find its story. The painting is her reflection.

In a way, Bliss reminds me of “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. The painting Dizzy struggles with reflects her internal state from beginning to end, absorbing her as the film progresses. Starting out as nothing but a few colors and ends a magnificent vision of madness.

Creator’s block is awful

Every creator knows and hates the dreaded blockage that shuts off all inspiration. You’ll stare at a blank page, screen, canvas, etc, forcing yourself to finish. Only you can’t because it’s now a riddle with an answer hiding in your blind spot. An answer that usually reveals itself at an unexpected moment. It just pops up and you have to run to the puzzle box so you can finally see the missing pieces.

Dezzy takes her riddle exploration to the extreme. She answers it with drugs, alcohol (I’ll admit I’m guilty of this) and sex. The drug she takes is something called bliss that’s named Diablo, and for those who don’t speak Spanish, “diablo” means Devil.

Despite the warning against its intense effects, Dezzy buys the product and so begins her journey down someplace dark. Is this place madness or hell? Who knows.

After a night partying with friends Courtney (Tru Collins) and Ronnie (Rhys Wakefield), Dezzy wakes up flooded with wildfire. That’s really the only way I can describe how she feels. Ever become so worked up that you start pacing a room, anxiously clawing at your hair and face? This is Dezzy after the party and it does wonders for her art. After three months of nothing, her masterpiece is finally on its way.

Bloody mess

I really like the painting she makes. I called it “Inferno Rising” in my head because I’m a mega Dante fan. It’s the kind of painting that can only be invented through a hallucinogenic trip drenched in blood. That’s right, drenched in blood. Once the slow conceptual horror gets going, Dezzy spends half her time either freaking out or just covering herself in blood. At one point, she’s covered head to toe. Not one part of her isn’t red.

However, being a successful artist comes at a price and the cost is Dezzy’s mind, and soul apparently. She can’t do anything without the bliss now, but instead of using it to let loose, she’s using it to curb her new unnatural blood craving. Something happened to her at the party and now she spends every moment fantasying about blood.

It could be the Diablo Bliss warping her mind or she really could be a vampire. A messy vampire. When she bites someone it’s just gore galore.

Vampires are usually representations of different forms of lust; sex, drugs, power, money, etc. Bliss is a combination. The drug comparison is clear, but that’s not what Dezzy craves. She strives to create, and what she creates is a mirror. The painting reflects the artist as she falls further and further down, the deeper she goes the more she adds to the canvas.

Bliss asks the question of who we are and how far will we go to see it. How far will you go to create your personal masterpiece? There are several instances where we view Dezzy in her creative throws of passion and oddly enough, despite how insane they are, it captures the feeling almost too perfectly. A great movie for any horror loving artist.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

All photos are property of Shudder and ark Sky Films.

About the Author

Rachel Roth is a writer who lives in South Florida. She has a degree in Writing Studies and a Certificate in Creative Writing, her work has appeared in several literary journals and anthologies. @WinterGreenRoth

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