Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss
Taika Waititi plays the head of a suicide cult. As the film begins we watch him – heavily bearded, with a swirling symbol on his forehead – as he serenades us on the quickest way to Nirvana. In his case he dispatches himself in a bathtub in an apartment in Los Angeles. Some time later, and the very same apartment houses cutesy couple Claire and Paul. Having just moved to Los Angeles for Claire’s dream job, they find their home besieged by Waititi’s followers, who all break in and commit suicide in the same bathtub.
To begin with they are horrified, but after a while they warm to Storsh’s teachings and indulge his followers. They are soon providing their own homemade poison. Concurrently, their professional lives improve and their hunger for human sacrifices grows. Their nightly death scenes are attended by a portly detective with a grudge against Storsh and a dream of film stardom.
At one point someone screams at another character to “Stop screaming!” There are few conversations delivered at a regular pitch. There are many breathless, rambling, or shouted exchanges. None of these is funny. The general tone is “quirky.” Paul decides to make themed bird boxes (one is based on Chuck E. Cheese but named Chick E. Cheese – you get the idea) and has a garbled conversation with the cartoon bird from his favourite cereal. Even if this appeals, it is here so devoid of any wit and so shoutingly conveyed that it is impossible to be winning.
Fortunately, there is an end in sight. Waititi’s teachings are of self-destruction, so we are blessedly rid of Claire and Paul before the end. But along the way we have to endure a ridiculous story, appallingly acted and hysterically delivered. It is aggressively unfunny and with all its pratfalls and beatings it is like some revived 70s farce. Only less funny. Truly, one to avoid.
Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss is released digitally on demand on 15th June 2020.
Watch the trailer for Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss here: