Following their critically-acclaimed 2012 horror Resolution, filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead reteamed in 2014 on Spring, a film that Guillermo del Toro called one of the best horror films of the decade. Beloved cult film label 101 Films has given the acclaimed film a long overdue UK Blu-ray release, so for anyone who hasn’t seen this hidden gem, now is the time.
The film follows Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci), a man reeling from the loss of his mother to cancer. After he gets drunk following the funeral, gets into a fight and ultimately loses his job, his friend (After Midnight’s Jeremy Gardner) encourages him to travel to clear his head. Evan settles in a beautiful seaside town in Italy, before a chance encounter with a mysterious beauty (Nadia Hilker) changes his life forever.
Spring is a film that holds many secrets and even now, six years after its release, it feels wrong to run the risk of spoiling anything for anybody who is unfamiliar with this film. Going into it as blind as possible will yield the greatest impact, as the film’s unique and original screenplay (written by co-director Benson) defies expectations of each of the genres it dips its toe into, from horror to sci-fi with a beautiful romance in between. And that is where the film really soars. Spring so accurately portrays the feeling of falling in love thanks to a fantastic performance from lead Lou Taylor Pucci, who falls head over heels for Hilker’s enigmatic Louise. Hilker is equally brilliant, with just enough suggestion that something is amiss while also making us fall in love with her too.
Through long conversations akin to something you’d find in Richard Linklater’s mesmerising Before trilogy, the two leads’ incredible chemistry comes to life and makes Spring one of the finest love stories of the decade. It is a truly moving whirlwind romance that will have even those with the darkest, coldest hearts swooning. All that said, there is a lot more to Spring than meets the eye. As hinted in this review, Spring isn’t just a romance. There is something dark and primordial afoot that threatens to derail the central romance…but you’ll have to watch the film.
With stunning exotic locations, an intimate style, fantastic dialogue and an unforgettable pair of lead performances, Spring is an absolute marvel. It’s shocking that this film isn’t more well-known because while Guillermo del Toro might think it’s one of the best horror films of the decade, it could just be one of the best films of the decade period. Hauntingly beautiful and masterfully written, directed and performed, Spring is unforgettable.