This is a story about the scariest of human experiences: falling in love.
BY LEZA CANTORAL
This film is a bold mix of indie romance, horror and sci-fi thriller. It straddles all these genres without conforming to the rules of any of them.
The tension builds as the horror unfolds on a parallel track with the love story.
Spring begins when the protagonist, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) loses the last things holding him to his small American town: his mother and his job. An orphan, haunted by ghosts and hunted by cops (for beating up a customer who was taunting him at the bar he worked at), he runs away to Europe and ends up in a small, atmospheric coastal town in southern Italy where he gets a job as a farmer. It is there that he meets his destiny: a mysterious woman named Louise (Nadia Hilker).
Writer Justin Benson and director Aaron Moorhead worked together as a team with the common goal of making a film that truly defies all expectations. There is nothing predictable about Spring.
What would be the the third act in a traditional horror movie, here is actually merely the end of the second act. The true strangeness of the story is only just beginning. This is a story about the scariest of human experiences: falling in love.
The lines between science and the supernatural are blurred, just as the lines between horror and romance are shredded to bits.
This is a tale of two people who are on the run and are hiding dark secrets. The secret of her true nature sets a whole new process in motion. The terrifying adventure that is falling in love is magnified by the things that Louise is hiding from Evan, which far outweigh any emotional baggage he might have, and yet, she is the one testing him. She is the one that cannot change the nature of her darkness no matter how much she might want to.
This is one of the most beautiful and poignant love stories I have seen on the big screen in a while. When you love someone truly, you embrace their baggage as well as their better points. True love does not make logical decisions. The heart wants what it wants, whether there be danger or monsters lurking beneath the face of your lover.
This is a profound and romantic commentary on seizing the day, on savoring your living flesh and loving fiercely, fearlessly and without reservations. Life is not yours to keep but it is yours to savor.
On Evan and Louise’s first date, they share a bottle of wine by the shore at night. She drops hints that there is more to her than meets the eye.
"I understand about half of myself." She says.
"Then you’re half magic?" he asks sarcastically.
"I am half undiscovered science, a bunch of confusing biochemistry and some crazy hormones."
H.P. Lovecraft built his mythos on his fear of the unknown, the fear of what lies beyond the surface of this planet: the ocean depths and the outer realms. The Deep Ones and the Old Ones. This film is like a modern incarnation of the Lovecraft Mythos.
This is where the true shape of Spring blossoms like a butterfly from its Lovecraftian cocoon into an art film with soul and depth.
This film is tragic and dark, but it is also unapologetically romantic. It meanders and it unfolds in a dreamlike fashion; moments follow each other, sometimes rushing and stumbling over one another, sometimes lingering and lasting endlessly as the sun sets like a bloody orange into the sea.
Spring is like a cross between Dagon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in that it is a Lovecraftian love story about the dance of intimacy and the questions we ask ourselves when we reach that moment between love and death.
Spring begins with a death and it ends with another inevitable death. Who dies and when is the only chaos factor.
Louise has a choice to make. She can either live forever, feeding off of others, or she can chose to die and live out her mortal time span with the man that she loves. This could be a simple choice, except she does not know if she loves him. The lovers risk their lives for the hope that when the sun comes up, her love for him is stronger than her desire to kill him.
Spring is transcendent, innovative and bold. It is brazenly quirky and dark, just like the object of Evan’s desire, Louise.
As you journey with this unlikely pair, through the ancient ruins of Pompeii, you discover the secret of her origin and experience the tragic and subtle beauty of a dawn on the edge of death.
Leza Cantoral is the author of Planet Mermaid and editor of Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective. She writes a feminist column about noir film for Luna Luna Magazine called Shades of Noir and writes about pop culture for Clash Media. Her upcoming collection of short stories, Cartoons in the Suicide Forest, will be coming out later this year through Bizarro Pulp Press. You can find her short stories at lezacantoralblog.wordpress.com and tweet her at @lezacantoral.