johnlink ranks SPRING (2014)

Knew nothing at all about SPRING when I put it on. I only had a very high Rotten Tomatoes score to go by: 89%. Beyond that, I knew the description talked about a guy who loses his mom and then takes a trip to Italy where he meets a girl with a secret. I knew it was considered a horror movie, but it didn’t seem like it belonged in the slasher/action-horror genre. So with that, I went in. I would actually say that approaching it this way is the best way to do it. The less you know, the better. But this is a really nice slow-burn horror film. Recommended for sure.


I watched SPRING (2014) on 10.21.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

This is a film in the genre of IT FOLLOWS or LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. This is a horror movie which works hard to establish its chops as a character study long before any sense of horror is introduced. The scary stuff comes, but it takes more than half the film to get there. It’s worth the wait.

We meet Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) at the death bed of his mother. After her passing, he manages to lose his job. He decides to take a trip to Italy in order to clear his head. After bouncing around a bit, he ends up in a small town working for a farmer (Francesco Carnelutti) and dating a beautiful young woman, Louise (Nadia Hilker). The bulk of the movie takes place over the course of a week and flips between the budding relationship between our young lovers and Evan working on the farm.

It is clear fairly quickly that Louise is hiding a secret. The movie does a nice job of masking what that secret is, so the less spoken about it, the better. Suffice it to say, Louise has a dangerous side to her. Evan is oblivious to it for a long time, and the movie enters its third act when he discovers the truth and makes a difficult choice regarding what he will do.

SPRING utilizes some stunningly beautiful cinematography. Many of the establishing shots were done with the use of a camera attached to a drone. The landscapes are breathtaking, and they help establish this as a movie that looks good in addition to having a strong story. A consistent motif of bugs and animals in various stages of death, decay, or life serves as both foreshadowing and thematic symbolism, but the heavy-handed nature of these shots doesn’t provide the same punch.


The special effects in this movie are stellar. In some independentĀ horror films, we get the sense that special effects are rarely used either due to budget restrictions or due to an inability to make them work. In SPRING, the special effects shots are infrequent. We often say that a movie doesn’t need to do this stuff just because it CAN do it. This is a film which follows that advice. The shots look spectacular, there is no break in the realism, and they often provide the most stunningly scary moments of the movie. But they neither dictate the tone of the film, nor do they ever break the reality the film creates.

Hilker and Pucci don’t have the very best chemistry of this genre. He is a bit too much of a regular guy for who she is. She is a little too modern to be as worldly as we are supposed to believe she is. Their performances are good enough in a vacuum, but they don’t register as being the reason this film is so successful. The script is witty, quick, strong. There are a few cheesy lines, sure. But the script uses both dialogue and scenario to create moments that will make us laugh out loud and moments that will make us jump a bit in our seat. Justin Benson wrote the script before directing it alongside Aaron Moorhead. The script could maybe have used one more pass to pull a couple of cliched lines – especially in the third act – but the movie more than makes up for these blips with an overwhelmingly strong and creative showing throughout.

Increasingly, this genre of horror is proving to be the strength of the 2010s. If the 1980s brought us the slasher film, and the 1990s brought us the meta horror genre, and the 00’s brought us torture porn, the 2010s are increasingly showing us that the strength of the horror genre is lying in the quiet horror flick which picks its moments. SPRING is a must see if you found either LET THE RIGHT ONE IN or IT FOLLOWS to be your bag. Despite a few flaws, this is some really good stuff.



One bonus point for cinematography and another for special effects. Both areas make really strong showings here, and both drastically add to the value of SPRING.


FINAL SCORE: 7.75 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on October 22, 2015.

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