Spring (2014) – REVIEW

I knew almost zero about Spring when I went into it. I’d read tweets admonishing horror fans to check it out and be patient with it. From that bit of advice, I assumed that it would be a slow build with maybe some good violence at the climax. Which sounded fine to me. Because, honestly, I say I’m a horror fan but what is horror really? Often it simply refers to violence or peril that elicits a fight or flight response in the viewer. How is that different from an action movie? It may be that the focus is typically on the victim or the “bad guy” rather than on the “hero”. Even when the victim wins in the end, we rarely refer to that character as the hero. We call her a “final girl”. If I asked you who the hero of Halloween is, you’d probably say Dr Loomis. But it’s not his story is it? White knight criticisms aside, it would take a considerable amount of work for you to convince anyone that Laurie Strode is the hero despite her heroic actions to protect the children in her care. In conclusion… wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah – Spring! I didn’t know anything about it, and neither should you. (don’t even scrutinize the poster too closely. I didn’t even include it in this post!) So, I’m going to be very deliberately vague in this spoiler-free review.

Evan runs afoul of the law (through punching) and opts to go to Italy for a while rather than stick around to wonder whether/when he will be arrested. There he meets Louise a mysterious (and beautiful) woman with uncanny insights into human nature, who seems interested in him at first but then she is very aloof after their first encounter. Was it something he said? He’s persistent and eventually charms his way into her life. The two become practically inseparable until she gives him the cold shoulder, with a “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse. Of course our persistent protagonist doesn’t just leave it at that. Nope. He persists and finds out her true motive for dumping him is WAY outside of his scope of understanding.

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat – this movie is a relationship drama. Wait though! Don’t click away yet, horror fans. Because, as I hinted above, this film takes a turn that will more than satisfy your predilections. The relationship story is solid in and of itself. These characters are drawn to one another In a way that makes viewers happy. The will-they-won’t-they dynamic is tried and true. Audiences eat that stuff up. It’s what we want love to look like – an irresistible attraction that ends in blissful union. (awwww) This film does this well. We root for Evan to “get the girl”. (apologies for my infantalizing colloquialism) What this film also does well is spike this familiar love story arc with just enough strangeness and weird behavior that the viewer is kept wondering where the story – the Louise character in particular – is going. We’re kept just slightly off balance until the moment were knocked on our asses. It’s beautiful. This isn’t a perfect film – some of the dialogue and character logic is less-than-great – but it’s a wonderfully twisted (and surprisingly sweet) little film that will leave you smiling.

The Final Cut: Spring is a horror story wrapped in a sweet relationship drama. The less you know about it going into it, the better. (well, obviously, you you should know as much as i just told you)

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