‘Love Lies Bleeding’ Review — Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian Kick Ass


The Big Picture

  • Love Lies Bleeding is a bold and exciting film that cranks up horror, suspense, and imagery to new heights.
  • Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian deliver electric performances that are both passionate and intense.
  • Director Rose Glass combines romance, thriller, and horror elements to create an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

While Rose Glass’ 2019 feature debut, Saint Maud, was a daring vision full of horror, jarring imagery, and unrelenting suspense, no one could’ve expected her follow-up, Love Lies Bleeding, would be such a bold, exciting film cranking up those concepts to 11. In this stunning sophomore feature, Glass tells a love story seeped in blood and popping muscles. It’s a dirty, sweaty, sexy feature that continuously builds in tension and is packed with unexpected moments. Glass became an intriguing new filmmaker with Saint Maud, but with Love Lies Bleeding, she becomes a master of intensity and tone, creating one of the most electrifying, jaw-dropping films of 2024.

Love Lies Bleeding

A romance fueled by ego, desire and the American Dream.

Release Date
March 8, 2024

Rose Glass

104 minutes

What Is ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ About?

From the moment that the aspiring bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brian) walks into the Crater Gym, managed by Lou (Kristen Stewart), it’s clear there’s a connection between the two. Lou can’t take her eyes off Jackie, and it isn’t long before the pair are back at Lou’s place—the beginnings of a relationship that will make these two inseparable. Lou has done her best to avoid her family’s criminal business, run by her father, Lou Sr. (Ed Harris), and has decided to stay in town to protect her sister Beth (Jena Malone) from her douchebag abusive husband JJ (Dave Franco). Making matters worse is that Jackie recently got a job at Lou Sr.’s gun range—a job she got by sleeping with JJ, who also works at the range. As Beth’s abuse gets worse, and Jackie and Lou’s relationship grows stronger, the violence of the family business is about to make everyone’s lives much more difficult.

Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian Are Killer in ‘Love Lies Bleeding’

Love Lies Bleeding thrives on the performances of Stewart and O’Brian as both are electric every time they’re on the screen. In Stewart’s performance, every twist and turn and their impact on her character can be felt in the way she fights through the most terrifying moments, and just the way she shifts her eyes or makes her lips tremble tells us everything we need to know about what she’s thinking in these difficult scenarios without saying a world. Stewart is also having a hell of a lot of fun, and as the film pumps up the stakes, she is more than willing to become an unwilling action star of sorts, meeting each obstacle with the strength they require.

Matching her ferocity and eclipsing it is O’Brian, who can quickly switch from a loving girlfriend to an instigator of great violence in a split second. While we understand Lou’s history and the darkness inherent in that past, Jackie is more of a wild card, a source of uncertainty in a film where everyone is already on edge. Early on, Lou gives Jackie steroids to help her prepare for an upcoming bodybuilding tournament, advising her to think of it as turning her into Popeye. As we watch the impact these drugs have on Jackie, an already tenuous situation gets even more uncontrollable. Muscles explode with power and Jackie’s strength becomes unbelievable.

Image via A24

But it’s when Stewart and O’Brian are together that Love Lies Bleeding becomes a powerhouse. It’s if their characters can’t control their desires when they’re together—for good and for bad. They both give each other strength, but sometimes, that strength can go overboard in an escalating and horrific fashion. Stewart and O’Brian play Lou and Jackie as if they know they’re in a great love story that they can’t escape. They can’t keep their hands off each other, and these scenes are full of passion, lust, and genuine love for each other. But even when it would probably be easier for both of them to cut and run, it never even seems like an option. Jackie and Lou become like a roided-out 1980s version of Bonnie and Clyde and it’s thrilling to watch them together.

Glass makes Love Lies Bleeding a grimy affair, and nowhere is that more clear than in the supporting cast. Franco has never been such a creep, and he’s excellent at making the audience dislike JJ before he even appears on screen. Similarly reveling in the film’s greasy absurdity is Harris, who is balding, but with long hair on the sides, and almost always has a bug nearby for him to play with. These two go all-in with playing major creeps, and it’s a delight to watch them be as disgusting as they can. Also perfectly cast is Malone, a character that the film wants us to both sympathize with and be extremely frustrated by, and Malone tows that line beautifully. Finally, Anna Baryshnikov plays the unsettling Daisy, who is in love with Lou and can’t figure out why this relationship isn’t reciprocal. Daisy encapsulates everything that makes this film an uncomfortable thriller that gets under your skin, as she’s unpredictable, darkly funny, and always gives the feeling that something is off.

‘Love Lies Bleeding’ Is a Gorgeous, Bloody Affair

Kristen Stewart covered in blood in Love Lies Bleeding
Image via A24

Glass reunites with her Saint Maud cinematographer Ben Fordesman and the results are gorgeous, even when they’re brutal. From dark shots bathed in red light, seedy parking lots, to moments that border on fantastical, Love Lies Bleeding always looks stunning. The direction from Glass is also always assured and precise, brilliantly framing every shot, and knowing exactly when to cut or how to maneuver her characters for maximum impact. From fairly basic moments, like Lou smoking in a kitchen at night, to intricate scenes of gruesome violence, Love Lies Bleeding is beautifully put together.

It’s also fascinating to see how Glass and co-writer Weronika Tofilska meld tones and styles throughout. Love Lies Bleeding is balancing between romance, thriller, and elements of horror, and it manages to do justice to all three. Even more impressive is how Glass and Tofilska constantly up the ante in all aspects, letting every piece of this story culminate in an unyielding third act. The way Love Lies Bleeding shifts between love and blood-covered vengeance frequently is a testament to the excellence of Glass and Tofilska.

Love Lies Bleeding is an exhilarating experience that will make you groan, laugh, cringe, and swoon. This is a remarkable second film from Glass, showing her tremendous ability to build tension and create an entirely unpredictable thriller that won’t be easy to forget.

Love Lies Bleeding Film Poster

Love Lies Bleeding


Love Lies Bleeding is an excellent second feature from Rose Glass, where Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian are having a hell of a lot of fun.


  • Rose Glass makes brutality and the power of love look gorgeous.
  • Loves Lies Bleeding is a completely unpredictable, daring adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
  • Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian are fantastic as a new couple thrown into a world of violence.

Love Lies Bleeding had its World Premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.


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