If Guillermo del Toro shot a film scripted by David Cronenberg, based on a story by HP Lovecraft, then had it edited by Richard Linklater, you would get Spring. I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s time-puzzle film, The Endless, so I was excited for this. I was not expecting the unexpectedly strong vibes of Before Sunrise.
Evan’s mother dies, and the night after her funeral, in the bar where he works, he gets into a fight and loses his job. He has no family or girlfriend, so on a whim he uses his savings to go backpacking in Italy. In a spectacularly beautiful coastal town he meets Louise, who is not the research student she claims to be.
The Italian countryside gets under Evan’s skin, and he begins to rediscover his joie de vivre. He falls in love with Louise, but she is hiding her real form from him. The camera begins to linger on insects, worms and dead animals. Evan is still processing his mother’s passing, and while Louise might represent spring after his personal winter, she also represents death.
As much as this is a fairy tale horror romance, where the beauty is the beast, this is also a film about male relationships. Back home, Evan’s best friend is a sweetly immature stoner, and at the start of his trip in Italy, he hooks up with two amusingly awful British backpackers. Once he arrives in the Italian town, he begins to notice the old men drinking coffee and playing chess in the square, and he falls into an awkward friendship with the farmer he labours for in exchange for a room. Being in a foreign land, meeting these men, and of course Louise, allows him to get to grips with his personal crisis.