I recently wrote that while I don’t like horror films, I can handle sci-fi horror just fine. So when a so-called horror film is also called a sci-fi film, I assume it is more the latter than the former (my definition of horror means that few sci-fi films are really also horror films). That was the case with the small independent 2015 so-called sci-fi film, Spring.
Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, Spring is a very unusual sci-fi film and I’m not convinced you can call it sci-fi at all (though I’m not sure it qualifies as horror either). Whatever it is, Spring feels like a combination of Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. Since those two films are among my favourite films of all time, this can’t be a bad thing.
Evan (played by Lou Taylor Pucci), a young American who has just watched his mother die of cancer (after taking care of her for months), gets in trouble with the law and takes off for Italy. In a small Italian coastal village (can’t go wrong with setting a film in such a place) near Mt. Vesuvius, Evan meets and falls in love with Louise (Nadia Hilker), a young Italian woman. But Louise is no ordinary woman (or an ordinary human), and let’s just leave it at that.
Spring comes so close to being a great horror/sci-fi film. The acting is surprisingly good (if not perfect), as is the direction by the young filmmakers, and Spring is full of gorgeous cinematography and fascinating conversations, most of them between the two protagonists as they walk through the village and explore its surroundings (as in Before Sunrise). Some of those conversations have thought-provoking things to say about love, but others, unfortunately, lacked depth, and a couple of key scenes didn’t feel credible enough (leaving aside the question of the plot’s credibility). So this little film gets only a solid ***+. My mug is up.