Spring (2014) Movie Review
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
You say you want your horror movies to be infused with a little more talky relationship drama.
You say you want your relationship dramas to be infused with a little bit more blood and gore.
Spring may just be the movie for you. It’s a surprisingly engrossing (as in “ewww gross”) drama/horror mix. If John Cassavetes and Nicole Holofcener and Roman Polanski and Richard Linkater and Rebecca Miller all had an auteur orgy, this is what might have sprung(!) out of their collective womb.
Spring has been compared to Before Sunrise and its garrulous sequels. The comparisons do have merit, but they probably don’t have as much…fluid.
The movie’s written and directed by the law firm/team of Justin Benson (who wrote the movie) and Aaron Moorhead. They wrote and directed the gore-less and disturbing Resolution from a couple of years ago. That movie scared me so much that I changed my name, had plastic surgery and altered my singing voice. I suppose it’s a compliment that Spring feels and looks nothing like Resolution but is still unsettling in its own right.
The plot, what little there is, is pretty thin but don’t let that dissuade you from seeing it.
Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci, the guy in the Evil Dead remake who read from the book despite everyone in the audience screaming at him to not read from the effing book) is a cook in a sepia-toned restaurant. He ditched college to come home because his dad died and he had to take care of his mother. Who is also dying.
Mom has such a great sense of humor that she tells a funny joke about dying right before she dies.
Evan is sad. Now he has no one. But there is now a bed available. You just have to move the corpse. It’s pretty light because she was wasting away pretty steadily before she ate it.
After his mother’s funeral Evan hangs out and the restaurant where he works and understandably gets plastered. He then gets into a bar fight. He then gets fired from his job because of said bar fight. Also, the police are after him.
Evan supposes it’s a good time to have a change of scenery because it’s not every day that you get fired and your mom dies. Perhaps it’s the universe’s way of telling you that everything you touch fails and everyone you love dies because there’s something wrong with you. Something like that.
The police start banging on his door, so Evan decides to high-tail it to Italy because “White People love Italy”. White people also love line dancing, which is more disturbing than anything you’ll see in this movie.
Evan gets a job working with an old Italian guy at a farm. Evan doesn’t speak much Italian, which is good because when old people just start droning on about stuff Evan can just walk away because he doesn’t understand the language.
Evan has a Meet-Cute with an Eye-talian woman named Louise (Nadia Hilker).
Within moments, Louise is offering to return to her place so they can have unattached and unprotected sex. Evan wants to slow it down and just have a drink with her later, not knowing that offers of this sort from beautiful foreign women only happen in the movies. Still, Evan insists and they have a scintillating first date consisting mostly of reading and writing letters.
Maybe Evan is a virgin.
Odd thing: it seems that flowers grow around Louise whenever she walks by.
This goes on for a while. A week, actually. They go out. They eat. They talk. They finally have sex!
The morning after is peculiar as you realize that Louise has gone through some…changes. She slinks out of Evan’s bed without leaving a note. There’s a stray cat that sees Louise on the street. That cat is not long for this world.
Evan wakes up alone and finds that he misses Louise. Even though it’s only been a couple of days he feels like there’s some kind of palpable connection and that he’d regret it if he didn’t pursue it further. He doesn’t even mind that Louise doesn’t photograph well in a way that no Instagram filter will fix.
I’ll bet that cat regrets it. You see, Louise is not your typical girl (“I’ve got crazy hormones”). And Spring is just around the corner. For Louise, that is her time to bloom, and Evan, or anyone else on this planet, may not want to be around when she does. Does love(Craft) conquer all, or does Louise take crazy to an entirely different level?
Something else ominous.
Told you it was light on plot.
What Works With Spring
- As stated before, Spring finds a balance between the drama and the horror that keeps the audience engrossed. Most of that stems from the chemistry between Lou Pucci (great name) and Nadia Hilker. As the relationship grows, you feel for them despite the many unusual obstacles that could keep them apart. No, she’s not set to be married to some jackass investment banker or anything like you’d see in some stupid romantic comedy, but the blocks to their relationship are a lot more…squishy.
- The moments of horror, when they do come, are startlingly effective as the FX are better than you’d expect from a movie in which the two protagonists spend the majority of the running time just walking or sitting down. You’d better clean up that living room.
- A nicely open-ended denouement which shows you just how well the characters are written and performed. See it. You’ll know what I mean.
What Doesn't Work With Spring
- I personally love the Before trilogy (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) so I don’t mind scenes of just dialogue, just so long as they have something to say. For portions of Spring, these scenes are not always successful and you’re left hoping for something gross/horrific to happen.
Spring into your local theater and see Spring. While not perfect, it’s never less than compelling and maybe you’ll just look at your significant other just a little differently.