Friday 10th October, 8.30pm – Odeon Covent Garden, Screen 2
Sunday 12th October, 1pm – BFI Southbank, NFT2
For a fantasy film that falls into the festival’s “Cult” genre, Spring gets the human appeal and sensitive side right. With almost all the makings of a good romantic comedy, the plot is spliced with the unexplained and impossible quirks of nature.
Evan has given up his studies to care for his sick mother and take a job at the local dive bar. When his mother dies he is left with no purpose and on a whim books a flight to Italy. There, he finds work on a farm and a girl, Nadia, whom he believes could be the love of his life. So far, so gentle, however things get rougher as Nadia battles with a condition that has devastating results on their budding romance. Evan is persistent with her until she finally opens up about her seemingly paranormal situation and true historical identity. With Nadia convincing Evan that his disbelief is due to “science catching up with myth”, they must weather the duration of her phase to determine the future.
Rooted in genetic science and talk of stem-cell theory, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have written a surprisingly plausible story, the manifestation of which is greatly varied; the visual effects keep you guessing about what is actually happening to Nadia. Far from a predictable singular werewolf-style mutation, the condition causes different transformations, making for a weirder and more frightening bombshell each time. The complexity of the created disease leaves you curious and is revealed slowly with style, but without being shrouded in too much in sci-fi jargon. Smaller themes around life and death are dispersed throughout via macro shots of a multitude of insects, fruits and animals. Along with swooping camera pans of the Italian island, the overall cinematic style echoes the warm and cold nature of the plot.
Romance really is at the film’s heart. The two protagonists share loss of family and the script has enough humour to keep it from being sickly sweet. For a saccharine and funny twist on a horror film, Spring delivers well.
Spring is released in selected cinemas on 10th October.
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