Plot: The narrative of James Bell’s short The Bliss is loose, but it centers a creep in a wheelchair (a familiar sight for Bell’s fans) and a mysterious woman, with a torrent of sexual violence unleashed. The movie avoids dialogue and focuses on surreal visuals, horrific moments, and of course, frequent bursts of graphic, memorable gore to sculpt the experience. This approach is of course a risk, but honestly I doubt those unwilling to look past more traditional sensibilities will find themselves watching The Bliss, so Bell’s creative vision and cinematic aggression are much appreciated. So there is a story in here, but it is better experienced and honestly, it would be tough to provide a real synopsis in this case.
Entertainment Value: The Bliss runs just over twenty minutes, but it uses every second to craft unsettling atmosphere and wild, unpredictable set pieces. If you’ve seen other movies by Bell then you’re kind of prepared, but even then, some sequences you think “that’s not going to happen,” but it does. And you see every detail, every nasty second of some brutal, jaw dropping gore and violence. In Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese wonders what a handgun would do to a woman’s vagina, but Bell’s vision makes that look a warm blanket. This isn’t one or two big scenes either, but a start to finish parade of bloodshed, dysfunction, and craziness, though as usual for Bell, The Bliss has a certain surreal, artistic texture. This manifests via the frenetic visuals, strange production design elements, and the perverse artistry of the special effects, all of which combine to make a short film you’re not likely to forget. This isn’t for the more sensitive viewers, but those who appreciate outsider, horror themed indie cinema should be able to connect with Bell’s twisted vision.
This one has frequent vivid, graphic nudity throughout, including a blend of real and prosthetic genitals and such. The sexual violence in The Bliss is beyond extreme, with some scenes that will drop jaws and make people do a second take, even if they’re used to similar wild content. The sexual content is indeed graphic and provides some simply boundary pushing moments, so while the movie only runs about twenty minutes, it packs a lot of sleaze and violence into that duration. That violence also yields a steady flow of blood and gore, all brought to life by Bell’s creative and effective practical effects, which are extra nasty this time around. And if you’ve seen any of his other work, then you know that is saying a lot. The sexual component to the violence is likely to alienate even some gorehounds, but it is a wild ride and Bell’s creative approach and bold style more than deliver on the bloodshed front. The film doesn’t lean on dialogue, so the low score is just an indication of how little verbal elements are present. The craziness level is through the roof however, with a consistent flow of just mind shaking violence and surreal madness.
Overall Insanity: 10/10