Spring full movie review - A deep American horror movie
Some guy's mom dies, he has drinks with a friend and ends up in a bar fight with a thug who threatens him. He calls a girl for "sympathy sex" but even then, after some foreplay, she changes her mind.
The next day cops show up at his door, because the thug has pressed charges. The guy, Evan, escapes and travels to Italy. There he meets some annoying Brits. With them he travels to a coastal town. As he arrives, a pretty girl smiles at him. At a bar he runs into her again. He wants a date with her. She wants to take him to her place right away. He suspects she's a prostitute. She denies it but not very convincingly.
The Brits leave, Evan stays. He finds a room in exchange for work on a farm. In the evening he runs into the girl, Louise, yet again. And they spend some time together. She takes him to her place. They have sex, she doesn't want to use a condom. The morning after she looks like a corpse but with sharp teeth. She leaves in hurry.
After running into each other yet once again, he convinces her to date him. What follows is these guys dating. We also learn about the girl. She's a student and is into science and genetics. Something isn't right with her. We see her naked on the street eating a cat. Or in a cave doing a ceremony with blood and eating a bunny. She sheds her skin and next day appears normal. On any given day, her skin starts bubbling or turning black and she injects herself with something and is then healed.
Everything is going great between the two, then she suddenly breaks up with him, no explanation given. Immigration police shows up at the farm presumably to arrest him. He stops by at her place and sees everything in shambles. He breaks in and sees her on the floor turned into a monster. After he injects her she's alright again. He's in shock, doesn't know what to say. She says she's just "human." He leaves, she goes after him and explains herself...of sorts. She needs embryonic stem cells to regenerate. And she's pregnant with his child. At some point, the next day, she'll consume the stem cells and she'll turn into someone else, now with half of his genetic material. This has been going on for 2000 years. Every 20 years she needs this treatment. He's in love with her so he accepts it because the alternative is death for her. Even though whatever is born the next day, won't be her. They take a trip to her hometown where they await the transformation.
Spring is unlike any other horror/sci-fi movie you'll see. It's also classified as romantic movie, but its romance is also unlike any other. It has a very strange tone overall. That's perhaps what it shares with a romantic movie. Because it doesn't have the tone of a horror movie or a sci-fi movie.
It balances normalcy with aberration very well. Evan is a perfectly average young American guy. Not very educated, informed, nor cultured. He's never had an abstract thought in his life, but can come up with meaningful things to say when he's not busy trying to be funny. He's likable but cocky. The conversations between the two are constantly on the verge of becoming a competition. He's a drama queen always ready to strike movie poster poses and his feelings of the moments come before all else. In typical American fashion he'll say something like "I'm not trying to be selfish...but..." and what follows is something selfish of course. As if prefacing something with "I don't mean to be...but..." makes the disagreeable OK. In this case, the night before the big event he wants to go on a road trip with her, the transformation and whatever she has to go through be damned.
The girl in turn is pretty, but she doesn't come across as particularly Italian. Of course she's been all over the world and knows tons of languages. She's not very transparent and unlike the American not ultra explicit. It's never quite clear to what extent she's in love with him. And if she is, why wouldn't she want to spare him whatever is about to happen? And obviously someone knowing her secret can't be a good idea. That said, we never really know just how all this got started, so the "explanation" isn't very satisfying. Neither is the ending which comes out of nowhere and leaves you with questions, which is a problem when you create so much expectation of the upcoming event.
I would put Spring among films like The Guest and It Follows, new original American horror. It's not all that horrific if you will, but it does have one genuine creepy moment when the two visit a church and her body starts decaying unbeknownst to her. Visually the movie is very nice. Unlike so many other movies allegedly filmed overseas we get to see a lot of nice Italian scenery. Everything that is said and everything that is shown matters at some point. As a result, scenes extend for far too long, for example the time Evan spends with the Brits. It also makes everything that happens too forced since there are no accidents and coincidences. It would have benefited from more science and a shorter running time, as well as some additional characters. Once a movie becomes about a relationship between two, we feel trapped with them as nothing is offered to allow us even a short escape from their small word.
These days when lousy horror movies are cranked out by the dozen and seem more like a cynical enterprise to make some bucks through Red Box distribution and offer very little if any payoff for the audience, it's refreshing to see a deep and thoughtful movie like Spring.