The best way to view Spring is to go in knowing as little about it as possible. Nearly half of the film doesnt even seem like it is going to enter into genre territory at all it is all about a guy (Lou Taylor Pucci) with problems leaving the US and going on a trip to Italy (in Poligno a Mare, what would have to be one of the most picturesquely chosen towns possible), meeting a girl and becoming entranced with her. Benson and Moorhead take their time with the lead-in, taking us through the death of Lou Taylor Puccis mother, his getting in a bar fight, his spur of the moment decision to go to Italy, his joining a group of backpackers, his abrupt decision once there to stay and take a job, his learning how to do the job, all before he gets involved with Nadia Hilker. This is the sort of lead-in that most formula horror films would have stripped down to the first five minutes, having Lou Taylor Pucci arrive in the town and all of the backstory dismissed in a couple of throwaway lines.
Things start to become strange from the point of his getting together with Nadia Hilker. She goes from waking up in bed to finding something crawling under her skin and then staggering out into the alley from which we ominously hear the howl of a cat. Later, while she has invited Pucci for dinner, she has to run away to the bathroom where we get alarming brief glimpses of what she is undergoing her face sprouting hair, vertebrae pushing their way out along her back and the final image of her collapsed inside the shower with clumps of hair everywhere. At this point, unless you have read too much about Spring, it feels like a genuinely out there film where you have the pleasurable sense of not knowing where any of it is going.
What we end up with emerges as an utterly fascinating and genuinely original film one part H.P. Lovecraft, I kept being reminded of the half-tentacle woman in Dagon (2001), another part The Man From Earth (2007) and its fascinating glimpse in on the human race from the viewpoint of someone who has lived a very long time, and one other part something like the modern indie romance of Before Sunrise (1995). I have some quibbles with the creative uses that the film puts evolutionary theory to but went with the concept that the film has at which you have to admit that it approaches it with a great deal of rigour and cleverness not to mention an assiduous effort to avoid the supernatural. In fact, the best and strongest parts of the film come after the revelation of what is going on. It is here that the relationship finds its full strength and emerges in some nicely written passages Benson and Moorhead say they wrote it as counterpoint to Anne Rices The Vampire Chronicles wanting to feature an immortal who actually enjoyed their condition. Benson and Moorhead are not above delivering it with a dry sense of humour such as cutting away from tender moments to showing Nadia Hilker with one hand turned into a tentacle or a corpse-like half-face resting on his shoulder and a tail wandering up behind his back. The romantic ending of the film comes with beautiful understatement.
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead next went ontothe equally striking Bonestorm segment of V/H/S Viral (2014).
(Nominee for Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2014 Awards).