Tribeca 2018: 7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh

Kate Micucci as Claire, Sam Huntington as Paul, and Dan Harmon as Lt. Bloyce J.P. Cartwright in Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss. Photo credit: Scott Everett White.

7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh, or 7 Stages for short, is without a doubt the best comedy–perhaps even the best film–to ever be made about a cult.

Claire (Kate Micucci) and Paul (Sam Huntington) move from the comforts of Ohio to Los Angeles.  They found an apartment in the Tabula Building that is surprisingly affordable but it’s only a matter of time before they learn why.  It turns out that a former resident of their apartment, Reginald E. Storsh, is a former leader of a cult.  He committed suicide in the apartment bathtub.  As a result, many of his followers continuously break into the apartment to follow in his footsteps.

At first, the two are annoyed but they strangely find themselves addicted to Storsh’s teachings.  It’s absurd and crazy but they soon find joy in helping the cultists kill themselves.  Tired of blood appearing everywhere, they create a mix of chemicals entitled “Bliss Juice.”  It makes the clean-up less of a trouble for the police with Detective Bloyce J.P. Cartwright (Dan Harmon).  Cartwright chased after Storsh for years but it turns out that he has another career in mind:  Hollywood screenwriter.  Upon learning that Claire works for Global Creative Advertising Agency, Cartwright pitches his screenplay in hopes of turning it into a film.

If you’re looking for the best and funniest death scene in the history of cinema, it comes by way of Kids in the Hall alumnus Mark McKinney.  The current Superstore star portrays the Level Six Seven Eight Instructor who teaches Claire and Paul the ways of the Cult of Storsh.  McKinney’s role is essentially a cameo but it’s the best one of all in a film that’s chock full of comedy cameos.  Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, Josh Brener, Mindy Sterling, J. Lee, Dana Gould, Ron Lynch, and Craig Cackowski are among them.

There’s a subplot involving reality television star Meegan Nordheim (Rhea Seehorn) and working on her image after caught cheating on her elderly husband.  Claire uses the teachings of Storsh to help re-brand her image (“C’mon Now!  Wouldn’t you?”).

Vivieno Caldinelli has successfully transitioned into feature filmmaking with one heck of a comedic cast in this absurd debut.  The film is hysterical and entertaining from start to finish.  In addition to the comedy cameos, what helps take this film home are the lead performances from the always reliable Kate Micucci and Sam Huntington.  Micucci, best known for being one half of musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates, delivers her best lead performance to date.

SpectreVision has traditionally produced darker films but in forming Company X, they’re able to produce a comedy gem such as 7 Stages.  Producers Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller, Lisa Whalen, and Elijah Wood should be proud of this hysterical feature.

7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss by Passing Through the Gateway Chosen by the Holy Storsh is as funny, absurd, and hysterical as genre comedies can get.  It’s best not to eat this one with food or drink lest you’ll be following in the footsteps of Storsh.

DIRECTOR:  Vivieno Caldinelli
SCREENWRITERS:  Christopher Hewitson & Justin Jones and Clayton Hewitson
CAST:  Kate Micucci, Sam Huntington, Dan Harmon, Mark McKinney, and Taika Waititi

An official selection of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, 7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh premiered in the Midnights program.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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