To celebrate the month of October, I will be forgoing my usual romantic comedy reviews to bring you four reviews of romantic horror! Three of the four are movies I’ve never seen before, so I am excited to share with you my thoughts on these spooky, heartwarming (ha ha) films. Enjoy!
After losing his mother to cancer, a young American, Evan Russell, finds himself in a bit of legal trouble after getting provoked into a bar fight. His best friend suggests he get away for a bit to clear his mind and avoid possible jail time, so Evan impulsively boards a plane to Italy.
It’s there he finds a job at a local farm in southern Italy and meets Louise, a gorgeous woman who enjoys sex but avoids emotional attachment. Evan takes Louise by surprise with his desire to get to know her beyond their physical attachment, and he’s darn persistent too. Eventually, Louise’s walls begin to fall and the two find themselves falling in love. Little does Evan know that Louise is hiding a secret. It turns out she’s a centuries-old mutant who, every twenty years in the springtime, gets pregnant to use the embryo cells to maintain her immortality. Evan must decide if he can accept this horrific side of Louise, and Louise must decide if her blossoming romance with Evan is worth sacrificing her immortality.
Being a fan of both the romance and horror genres, I was really intrigued when Spring was recommended to me and I read the premise. What would it be like to discover not all monsters are bloodthirsty predators? What would it be like to fall in love with one? Evan and Louise’s blossoming romance felt completely authentic, I’m sure thanks in part to Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker. They had just the right amount of chemistry to keep me captivated when they were getting to know one another. I have no doubt this movie could draw comparisons to the Before Trilogy, where the majority of those films depended on conversation and exotic locales to move the story and convince the audience that the two leads were falling in love. Spring very much works in the same way, just set against the backdrop of cosmic horror.
Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead perfectly balance the love story with the darkness of what Louise really is. Never did I feel that the horror themes of Spring overwhelmed the romance or vice versa. The two genres instead enhance one another and the story itself, creating an allegory of completely loving and accepting another person, tentacles and all. Choosing the flaws, instead of demanding perfection, and sacrificing everything you knew in order to give yourself to another.
I’m not a huge fan of grotesque body horror, but Spring never went too far with it, generally only showing us the beginning stages of Louise’s transformations, or revealing the end result. The inhuman side of Louise is always right there on the surface, threatening and occasionally snapping outward when you would least expect it, which makes for a few gleeful frights.
It’s a beautifully shot film and I was absolutely living for the ethereal shots of the Italian countryside, contrasted with Louise’s horrifying, slimy transformations and bloody kills, especially set against such a romantic setting. As for the ending, I expected it to be bleak, to leave me feeling despondent because the conflict and obstacles that Evan and Louise faced felt a bit too unsurmountable. But I was pleasantly surprised at the optimism and how it tied the entire movie together, especially the very last shot before the credits.
Spring is a beautiful movie about eternal love and the dread and hope that comes along with it. I would definitely recommend this to romance and horror fans alike.