Well, regardless of what you may think of the film overall, Spring will take you by surprise. The film takes two different genres — talky romance and body horror — and mashes them together. It’s the sort of thing that shouldn’t work and, yet, it somehow does. If Richard Linklater and David Cronenberg spliced their DNA, the result would be Spring.
Spring opens in Los Angeles, with Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) sitting at the bedside of his cancer-stricken mother and watching her die. After the funeral, Evan is drinking at a bar when a drunk and obnoxious toadsucker picks a fight with him. Though Evan, at first, tries to avoid the confrontation, he eventually ends up punching the man. (Evan spends the majority of the film trying to avoid confrontation. He’s actually a genuinely likable character and when was the last time you saw that in a film?) With the man now looking to kill him and the police possibly interested in pressing assault charges, the distraught Evan impulsively decides to take a trip to Italy.
He spends a while wandering around Italy. He hangs out with obnoxious and continually drunk tourists, the type who will be familiar to anyone who has ever spent the summer after high school graduation in Europe. And, eventually, he ends up in a beautiful Italian village, where he meets the mysterious Louise (Nadia Hilker).
Louise is a researcher and, at first, it would seem like she and Evan have little in common. (She’s an intellectual. Evan, cute as he is, most definitely is not.) But, over the course of a week, they get to know each other and Evan starts to fall in love with Louise. These scenes are full of nonstop conversation, covering topics of culture, history, and philosophy. It’s an obvious homage to Richard Linklater’s films with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and it works perfectly. Both Pucci and Hilker are likable performers and they have a lot of chemistry.
However, there’s another story unfolding. At night, a strange creature roams the city, eating stray animals and eventually killing one of the most obnoxious American tourists to ever appear in a film. How do these two stories connect?
Well, I’m not going to tell you. You need to see the movie for yourself.
To be honest, when I started this review, I thought I was going to be a lot more critical of Spring. As often happens with ambitious but low-budget indie films, there are a few scenes where the pacing is off and, once the solution to the film’s big mystery has been revealed, the explanation goes on for a bit too long. I appreciate the filmmakers attempt to make everything plausible but, sometimes, it’s better to just gloss over the exact details.
But you know what?
As I sit here writing this review, I realize that those criticisms may be valid but, in the big picture, they don’t really matter. So what if the film has flaws? All films have flaws! Spring tells a unique and interesting story and it will take you by surprise. Plus, it captures the romance of Italy! So, instead of getting all nitpicky, I’m just going to recommend that you see the film.