arthouse

[Movie Review] Spring (2014) ★★★★☆

Evan and Louise waiting for sunrise in Spring 2014

Spring dives into romantic body horror with a Lovecraftian twist that is as endearing as it is gruesome. 


Spring is a romantic weird fiction body horror with a dreamlike atmosphere. It mixes romance with body horror and weird fiction, creating a highly unique story with a unique authentic voice that is very distinctive of Moorhead and Benson. From the first scenes and shots, the natural way of filming and acting and creating a unique atmosphere, you immediately know it’s their style. It’s manly but sensitive and it’s a pleasant romantic film that men will also appreciate. 


Plot

After the death of his mother Evan needs to take a break and goes on a whim to Italy. There he meets a mysterious girl Louise whom he falls in love with. But she hides a great secret that will change both of their lives forever.


Why you should watch it

It’s a very intimate film that will seduce you. With beautiful cinematography that creates a dreamlike serene and pure atmosphere increased by evenly dreamlike music that organically flows into ominous sounds, the film feels like a warm hug or a loving embrace. 

What’s further special about this film, is that it is told from Evan’s point of view. Although he and Louise are the main characters it feels like a romance story told by and for men. Being bold and endearing and emotionally charged without becoming too sentimental.

When Evan is silently crying in the car with his two new-made friends. It’s a very touching scene. While he cries about his mother’s death the other guy tries to cheer him up with a love story and his own broken heart thinking he is being sensitive, which he is not. The film is not afraid to let Evan show his emotions and shows that it’s natural and should be more freely shown. But he also tells Louise how many men are wired in a not so sensitive way and later that night she gets proof. 

The acting is very natural as is the way the story is filmed. The dialogues are long and the two main characters Evan and Louise have conversations about life and death and love. It really feels like two people who are in the first stage of infatuation when you want to talk endlessly with each other about everything. The pace of the film is adapted to this development. It really does feel like falling in love which can be beautiful and scary at the same time.

The themes of the film are evident. It’s about love and death, which are both the basics to give meaning to life. This is handled with care, but true to the characters and sometimes with boldness. Their relationship and the film itself is endearing, sweet and delicate. 

But Louise hides a terrible secret that soon becomes clear to us before Evan even has an inkling. Her transformations are true body horror, and very original. It’s gross and sticky and slimy. It’s dangerous and horrific and nature itself. Maybe some scenes are a bit farfetched, like the rituals she performs. And it’s somewhat hard to connect this with something non-supernatural but to something scientific. 

The body horror and the creature she becomes is very well-crafted and nothing like you have ever seen before. It’s a truly memorable creature that can not be defined, or maybe only as something that crawled out of a Lovecraftian tale. Although the explanation she gives him and tells him everything she knows about herself which isn’t that much, can feel a bit awkward and too explicit. It’s also very comical. But it is very subtle humor that you ought to like to understand it as humor. 

It’s a very beautiful film with very gruesome scenes and very graphic bodily horror. Some animals are killed by her and although it’s not shown graphically, it’s not pleasant either although you still feel sorry for her or feel sympathy towards her. And Evan has these same feelings when he finally finds out who or what she is. 

It’s a very unique love story told with a unique point of view and voice that brings weird fiction, Lovecraftian monsters, body horror and sweetness together and it will leave you with warm fuzzy feelings, believing in love and life again.


My favorite part

The dreamlike style that Moorhead and Benson excel in, is so characteristic and weighs heavy on the story. If you are into this kind of atmosphere, like I am then you will love it. It’s almost if you are not watching a film but if it just happens. 

The contrasts with the gruesome body horror therefore hits you extra hard. Just like Evan experiences this with wonder, with disgust and love. The sight of the monster Louise has become is truly horrifying but beautiful at the same time. It’s very imaginative and totally different and new. It feels like an aquatic Lovecraftian monster, but maybe she’s not. The elusiveness of her condition makes it all the more weird but maybe acceptable at the same time. It’s a wonderful original film that I enjoyed very much.


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Drama factor: ★★★★★

Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆

Originality factor: ★★★★★


Cast and crew

Spring is directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and written by Justin Benson. It stars Lou Taylor Pucci (Evan) and Nadia Hilker (Louise).

Duration: 109 minutes. Music: Jimmy LaValle. Cinematography: Aaron Moorhead. Edited by: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Michael Felker, Giulio Tiberti. Produced by: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead. Production company: XYZ Films. Distributed by: Drafthouse Films, FilmBuff.


Check the trailer below