by Brody Rossiter
Horror movies have taken many different forms since their conception. The gruesome and supernatural have courted audiences with the visceral slashes and otherworldly arrivals with great success – wooing countless admirers thanks to several seminal features and series. Nevertheless, despite the genre dealing heavily in matters of the body, and its dismemberment, it rarely deals in matters of the heart. 2014’s sun-kissed romantic-horror, Spring, is a unique a visually stimulating escape from everyday realities that balances gorgeous aesthetics, a deeply personal tale of young love and startling images of bodily horror.
Starring Lou Taylor Pucci (Evil Dead) as Evan, an American tourist who flees to Italy following the death of his mother and a violent barroom brawl, Spring’s narrative soon unites Evan with a beautiful and mysterious local woman named Louise (Nadia Hilker). The pair court beneath a canopy of hazy Mediterranean sunlight and race through the ancient close quarters of the Italian coastal town in which Evan has decided sequester himself. They bathe in moonlight with a bottle of wine at their side and tentatively question one another’s motives.
The film mirrors Linklater-esque fantasies of delicate European romances rich with clever wordplay and emotional resonance, yet suddenly, following a night of lovemaking between the pair, the story adopts a far more sinister and Lovecraftian air, slowly unveiling the horror hidden below the beautiful surface appearances. However those romantic hues never dissipate; the sporadic bursts of fear are isolated and accentuated by this contrasting presence of tenderness, affection and the wonderfully picturesque locale in which they blossom.
As the relationship between the couple evolves so does our understanding of the unknown and distressing condition that afflicts Louise. Her physical form is altered in increasingly shocking manners, unleashing guises that threaten their relationship and place their lives in jeopardy. Deeply romantic in tone, innovative in terms of its cinematography, and possessing two highly-involving lead performances, Spring is a singular and unforgettably emotive experience hidden deep within and ocean of horror.