Crazy, funny, hot: ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ is an effective thriller, a solid love story—and very different

Director Rose Glass follows up her apparently great Saint Maud with a crazy-funny-hot and scary thriller/love story starring Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian.

I say apparently, because while I have told myself so many goddamn times to watch Saint Maud, I have failed to do so. It is streaming on MGM+; I actually have MGM+; and I still haven’t watched it. The cursor has hovered over “play” too many times to count, and the film has averted my assessment. As a film critic, I have failed thee.

Focusing on the task at hand, a review of a film I’ve actually watched: Bleeding is one of this year’s better films thus far thanks to an anything-can-happen (and it does) directive that remains from start to finish.

Stewart plays Lou, a depressed gym employee in the 1980s who spends her days unclogging toilets and trying to quit smoking. She spies Jackie (O’Brian), a mysterious bodybuilder who has just arrived in town. They meet, they spark up rather quickly—and before you know it, Lou is supplying Jackie with steroids in between sex sessions.

Quite unexpectedly, things get bloody as Lou and Jackie find themselves in one bad situation after another, some of them definitely as a result of massive steroid consumption. Glass gives us a hallucinatory final act that comes out of nowhere and cements this film as a very unique experience—although I did feel a little like I was watching the Nicolas Cage horror flick Mandy at times.

Ed Harris, brandishing long hair extensions, is terrific as a local crime lord who owns a couple of establishments, including the gym and a gun range. This is one of his more memorable characters of recent memory.

A solid love story, a decent period piece, an effective thriller and, yes, a testament to the horrors of steroids, Love Lies Bleeding will be much appreciated by those of you out there looking for something a little—scratch that—a lot different than the usual cinematic offerings.

Love Lies Bleeding is available via various streaming services.

YouTube video