Streaming services provided hundreds of options for your movie night, but inevitably they never have the one that you are looking for. As you scroll endlessly looking for something familiar, you are missing out on hidden gems buried under all the mediocre-to-awful movies that fill out the numbers of each streaming service. Instant Gratification spotlights those awesome genre movies that never topped the box office, or might not have even made it to theaters.
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It’s October which means it time for me to watch way too many horror movies! My first selection is something a little different from the usual fright-fest. The 2014 independent film Spring is really a romance story with a touch of genre weirdness. It takes elements from creature features and puts them into a walk and talk indie romance, combining the two into something special.
Evan is an American who has traveled to Italy after his life at home falls apart. After drifting for a while, Evan ends up meeting a beautiful young woman in a beautiful small town. Evan decides to stick around as he pursues Louise, an Italian student who resists his advances despite seeming to like him. There is more to Louise than meets the eye, though, and she has good reasons for trying to keep Evan at arm’s length. Strange and occasionally scary or gross things happen, but the movie keeps its focus on the relationship that may or may not be developing between Evan and Louise. Saying anything more would spoil a delightful little movie.
The early scenes in Italy can seem slow or aimless at first, but that mirrors the state of the main character, and the both Evan and the film find direction after he encounters Louise. The final act gets slightly bogged down by (mostly) necessary exposition, but the filmmakers have crafted an interesting enough idea that I wanted to learn more. It helps that Lou Taylor Pucci (Evan) and Nadia Hilker (Louise) are excellent, and directors Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson have built a beautiful film around them. Using drone photography they pull off many fantastic sweeping aerial shots of the coastal town where the film takes place. There are also smaller moments that show their skills, such as the way the camera moves when Evan first sees Louise, making the moment feel magical. There are some visual effects required by the story, which mostly vary from decent to impressive and only occasionally let the movie’s tiny budget show through.
I watch all kinds of horror films, and I love it when something truly unique like Spring comes along. If viewers can adjust their expectations beyond conventional thrillers and chillers, they might get swept up in this weird, wonderful romance that just so happens to have some creepy-crawly moments. If you do enjoy Spring, it’s also worth seeking out Moorehead and Benson’s first film, Resolution. I didn’t love it as much as I loved Spring, but I was still impressed by Resolution’s deconstruction of horror and the nature of stories in general. It was made for even less than Spring and in the absence of effects they come up with some very creative ways to unnerve out the characters and the audience.
What’s your favorite horror film? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for checking out our review!