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It’s too bad Spring wasn’t released in time for Valentine’s Day because it’s one of the most romantic horror movies I’ve ever seen.

Written by Justin Benson and directed by Benson and Aaron Moorhead (the duo behind 2012’s Resolution), the basic plot of Spring is this: A young American man (Evil Dead 2013’s Lou Taylor Pucci) travels to Italy after his mother dies and he gets into some trouble. He’s not a bad guy, but finds himself in a situation where his being in another country might be in his best interest. While taking in the old country, he meets a mysterious woman (Nadia Hilker) and experiences love at first sight. As you might imagine, this will not turn out to be an ordinary love.

There are also appearances from The Battery’s Jeremy Gardner and Resolution’s Vinny Curran.

It’s hard to say that Spring will be something all horror fans will enjoy. It’s very slow-paced, dialogue-heavy, and it dedicates a lot of time to developing the love story that is its backbone. None of these are bad things, and many will appreciate them (I certainly do), but they’re probably not for everyone.

The poster touts it as “a hybrid of Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft,” with a quote from RogerEbert.com, and that’s actually not a bad description at all. It certainly has heart and the Lovecraft influence is undeniable (even if the filmmakers say they weren’t really familiar with Lovecraft’s work when they made Resolution, which also made some reviewers think of it).

The ways in which the creature elements are presented in Spring are every bit as interesting as the elements themselves. They’re often presented almost casually with little of the type of fanfare typically utilized in creature features. This style combined with loads of stunning European scenery and architecture, thematic nature shots, and a beautiful score make for an alluring combination not often experienced in a horror film.

I don’t want to make it sound like there is very little creature horror going on in the film. There is certainly enough to satiate your lust for monsters. It’s just handled in a way that I’d refer to (perhaps for lack of a better word) as more maturely than the typical monster movie.

Another interesting angle to the whole story is the downplaying of a supernatural element which would ordinarily provide the basis of the proceedings. Explanations (whether plausible or not) are kept under the net of realism.

While it’s still pretty early in the year, I fully expect Spring to make it onto plenty of 2015’s top ten lists for horror. It’s a strong showing for the genre and one you should definitely check out.

With titles like Spring, Digging Up the Marrow (review) and What We Do in the Shadows (review), it’s quickly shaping up to be a fun year for monster movies.

Spring opens in theaters on VOD on Friday. Later this week, we’ll be posting an interview with Benson and Moorhead. Stay tuned.

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