Spring sacrifices a sweet story in an attempt to push the boundaries of a typical genre movie, but it’s still an interesting Before Sunrise-esque horror/rom com hybrid and a captivating date movie.
Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) is a young American fleeing to Europe to escape his past. While backpacking along the Italian coast, everything changes during a stop at an idyllic Italian village, where he meets and instantly connects with the enchanting and mysterious Louise. A flirtatious romance begins to bloom between the two — however, Evan soon realizes that Louise has been harboring a monstrous, primordial secret that puts both their relationship and their lives in jeopardy. [Drafthouse Films]
Released in the same year as Life After Beth, Spring is another movie that adds more interesting dimensions to a typical romantic movie by borrowing from other genres. But while the former loses steam as the story progresses, the latter manages to sustain interest as the story unravels.
The familiar narrative strategically drops small to striking clues that aren’t too blatant and contrived. The script tweaks the typical creature feature horror by anchoring the premise on science rather than the supernatural. The science behind Louise’s secret is convoluted but it raises the stakes for Evan.
The characters are likeable. Evan is not a typical crude American and Louise is not stereotyped into the exotic seductress. Both actors are perfectly casted and did very well. The rest of the cast adds some colorful characters against a beautiful backdrop.
The dreamy cinematography adds a great contrast and a poetic touch to the story. The hovering camerawork captures the beauty of the location while adding a sense of foreboding and reminds the audience of the looming threat over the idyllic town. The minimal CGI and practical effects is a clever approach that delivers a cost-effective yet striking imagery in short bursts.
Spring manages to blend different genre elements with good results. Based from what we’ve seen from the The Voices, it could drag down the movie.
While the creature feature horror and romantic comedy mash-up makes for an interesting take on a typical love story, Spring is better when it focuses on Evan’s transformation and his interaction with Louise. He needs someone to spend the rest of his life with and Louise proves to be a good match. She’s a natural foil for his naive – though a bit crude – ways. The Before Sunrise-esque third act is proof of this as their mini adventure and naturalistic conversations highlight their dynamic. Unfortunately, this story of two people searching for something more than mutual attraction and chemistry is taken for granted, as the movie prioritizes a pseudo-science that has incestuous implications.
Tropes still manage to surface. The woman always has to be one to change her life and get domesticated for a man. The movie’s science is an alternative technical explanation for girls being undecipherable mysterious aliens. Louise is treated as such and it’s never clear what she really is. A guy scores a girl way out of his league and never the other way around.
Still, Spring is great for would be couples or for anyone who’s tired of recycled rom coms. It offers a sweet story coupled with relaxing visuals and relatable characters. It’s genre mixing attempt adds something more to the typical boy meets girl love story. At its core, it tells us to take a leap of faith and take a chance at love.
My Rating: 7/10