Spring follows a young man who, after the loss of his job, and more importantly, his mother, decides to take a trip to Italy to get away from everything. While there, he meets a beautiful woman. As a budding romance begins, it becomes clear that she is more than she appears. Is he the luckiest guy alive, or is she a monstrous succubus playing a game?
It seemed like a good time to go back and review the second feature-length film from the directing duo of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson. Their first collaboration was Resolution back in 2012, and they will have their latest film, The Endless, debuting here in Colorado at Telluride Horror Show this coming weekend.
The directors have a knack for taking minimalist horror elements and twisting them around character-driven stories. In this case, Spring is a love story above anything else that has its moments of somber and quirky indie-film romance dispersed throughout. One might say it is even over-saturated with these moments, which takes the horror right out of it. I would beg to differ, though I wouldn't dismiss that complaint.
The Lovecraftian scenario of our mutating love interest is a unique one. I would say I have never seen a film quite like this. And while our hopeless romantic's pursuit takes center stage, we are frequently exposed to her plight of transformation with fantastic body-horror detail when our protagonist is out of view. The transformation scenes are very well done, retaining a portion of the horror for the mind's eye, while also imposing some great effects and imagery.
The plot is in some ways a reversal of roles from Beauty and the Beast. Our hero has a certain amount of time to get the beautiful beast to fall in love with him, or else he loses her forever. Despite this, it has its own take on the tale, providing "genetic aberration" as the means for the happenings.
The horror elements drive the plot forward, but they don't frequent the screen enough to satisfy my lust for the body horror genre, in particular mutations and transformations. But, the unique qualities of the plot and the treatment of the affliction make for a film like no other. I found myself far more involved than I would have been had the romance been absent of the monstrous surprises. I'm close to recommending it for couples looking to "Netflix and chill", but one or both of you can't handle rom-coms. Though, I must say, I chuckled out loud a handful of times throughout this movie, as the occasionally improvised dialogue and dry humor hit a good note on my funny bone.
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 7/10