Spring (London Film Festival 2014) Review
I didn’t know much beforehand about Spring other than it was being compared to Before Sunrise, despite playing the “Cult” strand instead of “Love”. Well, it certainly belongs to the latter theme, given how co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead construct a swirling romance in Italy between two strangers who swiftly find they can’t bear being apart. There’s just one hurdle – and that hurdle might involve someone being a terrifying, murderous being...As with the genre label, Spring begins as a red herring itself. When faced with the death of his mother, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) takes a therapeutic trip to Italy and – not completely unlike Coogan and Brydon in The Trip to Italy – eats at restaurants and gets pissed with rowdy backpackers. It looks set for The Inbetweeners 3. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. When Evan’s new friends disappear in a flash – one of a few enjoyably subtle jokes – he spends time with a flirtatious local, Louise (Nadia Hilker), and they stroll alongside the Mediterranean landscape to exchange bad anecdotes ending with “it was a funny story”.Unsurprisingly, Evan excuses Louise’s peculiar behaviour – rushing off at sudden moments, syringes scattered on the floor – because he’s having too swell a time to play detective. (Remember, his mother died, and he wasn’t leaving much behind.) However, when she’s revealed to be a monster (it’s hard to explain, so best to keep the visuals a surprise) even his burgeoning sex drive starts to wonder: is this worth it? Well, that’s where there the Before Sunrise element comes in. The concept of “love at first sight” is challenged when then a few more sights might consist of being killed in a horrible fashion. Well, that’s what Spring has to offer – and, strangely, the horror aspect proves a distraction from the relationship.But there is a teasingly gothic thrill behind the earnest plot twists that set up the ever-important question: are the late night conversations really worth it if at sunset your partner will transform into a organism that feeds on blood to survive? The answer: sort of.’Spring’ is playing London Film Festival 2014 as part of the Cult strand. Ticket information can be found here.