Kristen Stewart has had quite the varied Hollywood career. From vampire-lover (turned actual sparkly vampire) to music video director, haunted princess, Charlie’s Angel to…estranged daughter of a mob boss? Her exact role in A24’s upcoming Love Lies Bleeding is still under wraps, but the just-released trailer shows a wild ride ahead.
Love Lies Bleeding looks to be a neon romantic thriller set in the high-stakes world of bodybuilding. Stewart plays Lou, a gym employee, who becomes immediately infatuated with Jackie (Katy O’Brian), a new-to-town bodybuilder. Lou is not the only member in that family that Jackie gets involved with; we see her accepting a job with Lou’s father (Ed Harris). He owns a gun range, but, by the looks of it, the majority of his money comes from less than legal means.
Director and co-writer Rose Glass is a name that should sound familiar with A24’s roster of films. In 2019, her debut feature, Saint Maud, was released and has become something of a hidden gem for horror fans. Saint Maud is an eerie, atmospheric flick about a young hospice nurse who becomes obsessed (to an unsettling degree) with saving the life of one of her patients. Those who have seen it know that the film’s final shot is one that stays with you forever.
Love Lies Bleeding is Glass’ follow-up to Saint Maud. It also marks O’Brian’s first (co-)leading role in a feature. Marvel and Star Wars fans may recognize her from her appearances in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Mandalorian. She is a decorated martial artist who has been practicing since she was five years old. O’Brian has also been a police officer and competed in bodybuilding competitions. It seems like all of those skills will be on full display in Love Lies Bleeding. The trailer gives us glimpses of her working out, firing guns, and maybe a fight? The big ’80s hair makes it a little difficult to parse out who’s who in the quickfire montage toward the end of the trailer.
“Revenge Gets Ripped” is the film’s official tagline. A sentiment that pulses to the beat of “Smalltown Boy,” a moody, synthy-80s epic that’s been remixed ever-so-slightly to give it more edge. There’s a poetic romanticism in the trailer’s editing, a hint of the love story that seems to be central to the plot. In the same breath, there’s an inherent danger to everything the trailer lets us see. The chorus of “Smalltown Boy” feels like a desperate plea. The only lyrics from the song that are used are “run away, turn away” and are repeated with increasing frequency as the trailer hits its climax. The final shot we’re left with as we begin the countdown for the film’s release is two characters (likely Jackie and Lou) standing over a pit of some kind. There’s a bright fire burning below and Jackie’s voiceover: “Don’t ever fall in love, okay?”
Directed by Rose Glass and co-written with Weronika Tofilska and starring Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov, and Dave Franco, Love Lies Bleeding will make its world premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. The film will be released in theaters on March 8, 2024.