Isla (Sharnee Tones) begins her morning struggling to wake up. Is she trying to wake up from a bad dream, or is she perhaps dealing with a traumatic past? Once awake, Isla attempts to gather herself and prepare her mind for another day. Isla is a professional Sound Engineer and has been invited to a band rehearsal with her girlfriend, Nic (Shanay De Marco), grunge band Prom Night.
When Isla and the others arrive at the music studio that Isla’s family owns, further discussions are had among the band members, including the rumour that someone they knew had recently ended their life by suicide. They even talk about an urban legend known as “the twenty-seven club”, where many well-known musicians ended their lives at the same age. The band continues to prepare their instruments, and the rehearsal officially begins. However, for Isla, an element of fear grows within her, even more so when she and the band discover someone has locked all the outside doors with large chains. Now Isla and the band harbour suspicions about one another, and havoc begins as everyone tries to save alive during the night.
Bliss of Evil is a horror film with strong thriller moments mixed in. It should also be noted that the film is based on events that took place in Brisbane, Australia, in 1997, and the names of all characters have been changed. While respectful enough to those who have passed, it tells the story exactly as it occurred. Having lived in Brisbane my whole life, I was unfamiliar with the story and the outcomes here.
As an Australian film, there are many aspects I can praise here. The level of mystery is strong. I found myself invested in discovering the truth, what was going on, and, more importantly, if our leads would survive and escape the haunting nightmare they find themselves in. Moments of violence and blood splatter are also impressive and effective. The sound effects are praiseworthy, and I enjoyed the opening score by Nate Collins. Performance-wise, there are some standouts here, including the main lead played by Sharnee Tones and the supporting role from actor Brendan R Burman-Bellenger who manages to be both comedic and dramatic at various points.
While I have so many praise points, a few minor issues are distracting or feel weaker than I preferred. There are some inconsistent moments in the sound during character conversations and some line deliveries from side characters that lacked emotion or empathy. Some scenes throughout the feature also overstay their welcome and begin to drag or feel uncomfortable. The film’s third act sadly shows the lower budget and has an abrupt, rushed ending.
Overall, this is an impressive horror film that injects terror right from the opening. The concept here is excellent and even more frightening when the film announces it’s based on actual events which took place in Brisbane, Australia. Leading performances, including from actress Sharnee Tones, are strong, and I appreciated her work here. Moments of violence, blood, sound effects, and the opening score are bound to please many audiences. Sure, some moments indicate the budget, but I couldn’t help but feel positive about what’s been achieved and the themes tackled on-screen and thankful for the creators and their efforts on this chilling feature.