- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Spring

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Horror / Romance / Sci-fi

Language: English

Runtime: 109 min

Director: Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Writer: Justin Benson


Life is not going as planned for Evan, so he decides to leave America and move to Italy. In Italy he falls in love with a girl on first sight and he keeps running into her - eventually she agrees to go on a date with him. Things are great between them, but the more time he spends with her, the more he understands that the girl he loves is hiding an otherworldly secret.

Our thoughts:
Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead seemed to come from nowhere when they crashed into the horror scene with the masterpiece that is "Resolution" a few years back. It packed enough power and technical skill to rival the masters of the genre. When "Spring" was announced and reviews were finally dropping, it became obvious that the duo was here to stay. People were listing it among their favorites on 2014 and for once I actually believed the hype of a movie, which I rarely do anymore. It took a while for me to get a chance to watch "Spring", but it certainly did not let me down.

Evan is hanging out with his friend at a bar where he works after the funeral of his mother. He gets into a fight with a wannabe-badass and gets fired for it. He and his friend leave and go home to Evan's place to drink and calm down, but Evan finds himself in a bad place. After the person he punched at the bar drives by and is making threats, Evan decides to just leave. And not just his home - he leaves the country, because there is nothing left for him here anyway. He randomly decides to go to Italy. In Italy he meets the girl of his dreams, but as their relationship grows more serious, a dark secret is revealed.

If you know anything about "Spring", you probably know where the plot is heading. It takes your typical love story and throws it into something akin to Zulawski's "Possession" or early Cronenberg, which is not something we usually see. The best thing about "Spring" might actually be that even when the big reveals happen, it still remains focsed on romance and its surreal mysteries, and not horror. Yes, there is horror in "Spring", but the movie is powered by different fuels. This is a romance movie first and foremost. Our directors have successfully made a romance movie that gets gross, violent and surreal - one that will please the arthouse fans, romantics and horror hounds alike. Not to mention that there is wonderful humour throughout the movie.

Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead prove yet again that they can bring out the best acting possible from their cast. Lou Taylor Pucci is perfect as Evan from the moment we're introduced to him. He's an extremely likable and sympathetic character. We relate to him from the start. Nadia Hilker as Louise is equally fantastic, but the movie intentionally makes her harder to relate to, but that's part of the mystery. You could say that she's one of those "manic pixie dream girls", but with a very, very dark twist. What I love about the work of Benson and Moorhead is that every character is excellent. We meet people in the beginning of "Spring" that we would have loved to watch an entire movie with, because they are just that great. We also get a little cameo from Vinny Curran from "Resolution"!

There is some terrific scenery and cinematography to enhance it. There are a ton of aerial shots of the stunning Italian town to set the setting and mood perfectly. It's an old city built up on rocks near an ocean, and considering where the plot is heading it all fits perfectly. Even more appropriate are all the shots of different animals and creatures, but I'll let you figure that one out.

"Spring" is a truly great movie and one that I think will hit right home with a lot of people, but it does have a few flaws. The beginning of the movie felt rushed and somewhat random. There wasn't enough motivation for Evan to leave the country willy-nilly, and almost felt like they wanted the movie set in Italy with an American lead but weren't sure how to move it there. You might also be able to predict a lot of what will happen, but it does not hurt how it is presented. Some other flaws I can't get into because I don't want to spoil anything. Still, "Spring" survives all of it and is still an incredibly strong movie.

There isn't much more for me to say. You need to watch "Spring". It's not as great as "Resolution", but it's still an excellent movie. If Benson and Moorhead continue like this they will be among the best horror filmmakers of this generation. Hell, they might already be, but I'll wait to stand behind that until I have more proof. "Spring" is both heartfelt and bizarre. The blend of genres had me glued to the screen from the start and it's safe to say that you will not get many romantic movies like this one.

Positive things:
- Excellent cast.
- Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead prove again that they are masterful filmmakers.
- Great effects. The movie doesn't mind getting disgusting either.
- Wonderful cinematography.

Negative things:
- A bit predictable at times.
- The reasons for Evan to go to Italy.
- Some parts towards the end felt muddled.

Gore: 2,5/5
Nudity: 2.5/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 3.5/5
Comedy: 2.5/5

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