|This is how you do a poster. Gorgeous|
If you're not ride or die for Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, you're missing out. The duo's debut, 2013's RESOLUTION, was one of the most inventive horror films of the year. After watching their sophomore film SPRING, these two prove that they aren't one-hit wonders, and that they are bonafide film making powerhouses. SPRING follows Evan, played by the incredible Lou Taylor Pucci (EVIL DEAD, CARRIERS), retreating to Italy after the mother he's been caring for passes away. While on his trip, he meets Louise (played by the effortlessly gorgeous Nadia Hilker), and is immediately captivated. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Evan, Louise is harboring a secret that is both horrifying and dangerous.
Right off the bat, Justin Benson continues to prove that he's one of the smartest screenwriters working in the genre. RESOLUTION completely spun some of the most famous genre tropes on its head, and SPRING breathes new life into the "American in a Foreign Country" sort of storyline. In terms of gender analysis, I'd argue that Evan's character is a feminist, and his actions are completely atypical from the traditional male horror characters. Evan is a male character that the audience can genuinely enjoy watching, and his journey is one we actually care about following. This film very well could have been a run of the mill "fell in love with a vampire/ghost/monster/zombie" film, but it's not. It's truly in a league all its own and it's the breath of fresh air this genre has been craving. The timing of SPRING is downright impeccable, because it never feels rushed or monotonous.
The bones of SPRING are made out of an extremely well structured story, and Benson's writing grows stronger with every installment. In terms of the actual "horror" the mythology about Louise is clearly inspired by familiar creatures, but her transformation remains very unique. It could have been incredibly easy to just ape off any number of the body horror/creature films of yesteryear, but SPRING still manages to maintain true to itself. SPRING may be getting comparisons to H.P. Lovecraft, but it's definitely from the mind of Justin Benson.
The "Richard Linklater meets H.P. Lovecraft" comparison merely scratches the surface of what SPRING has to offer, but it's an admittedly fair description. Benson and Moorhead have successfully crafted one of the most aesthetically beautiful horror films of recent memory. In addition to directing, Moorhead also worked as cinematographer and he has an exquisite style that really allows the audience to travel to whatever world he's shaping for us. Much like our leading lady, SPRING felt somewhat otherwordly at times, and yet I wanted to wrap my arms completely around it. By marrying the elements of horror with the audience pleasing "romantic dramedy," SPRING is one of those films that horror fans will come across, and it will speak to them on a level that slashers or found footage cannot ever match. SPRING is a peculiar film, and will more than likely confuse many audience members, but for those that it speaks to, it will resonate within us for years to come. Benson and Moorhead are proving to be an unstoppable force, and SPRING is going to help push them forward.
SPRING will be available in theaters and VOD nationwide this Friday, March 20th.