Over the course of the semester, if there was an overarching theme to all the movies that we watched in class is that horror films aren’t always what you think it to be. I don’t mean that horror films have their own agenda and different plot twists, but I meant that the horror genre in itself has numerous unique characteristics. Yes, we all know the common thriller/horror films, but I never really knew that there were comedic horror films, horror films that have overarching relevant modern themes, horror films that focus so much on the woman gender, and most recently horror films that are a bit romantic. Who would have known that the horror genre can be this diverse that it is able to not only trick the mind but also ones emotions.
Spring (2014) is not your typical horror film. Actually watching the movie, if I weren’t in a horror film class, I would never have thought that this film would be under the horror genre. I mean really? It felt more like a fantasy, sci-fi, romance film that it was a horror film. During the entire movie, I was anticipating something dark and creepy to pop out. When there are horror films that have innocent sounding and often one liner titles, just like Spring, you will often expect the worst is yet to come, but somehow I felt cheated. I expected a bonafide horror film but what I got was a cheesy romance flick. Ok towards the end of the film there were some horror elements to it but compared to most of the films we watched in class, I wouldn’t rank Spring as one of the top horror films out there, in terms of scare factor.
Horror, sci-fi, romance, that’s a whole lot of styles all in one film. According to Mark Jancovich’s article, “Genre and the Audience: Genre classifications and cultural distinctions in the meditation of the Silence of the Lambs,” it was mentioned that genres aren’t just based on some preconceived idea of what the genre should contain, but it is defined by numerous points of understandings. “Genres are not defined by a feature that makes all films of a certain type fundamentally similar; rather, they are produced by the discourses through which films are understood.”
Also mentioned in the article, not only does the genre elicit the preconceived expectations of a movie, but also does the name of the author. “The author function creates ‘a relationship of homogeneity, filiation, authentication of some texts by use of others’.” This form of classification does not simply lead to some pre-existing form. “It produces what it purports to identify. It is the product of a desire and projection, of a need to believe that there is ‘a point where contradictions are resolved, where incompatible elements are at last tied together or organised around a fundamental original contradiction’.”
At the end of the day, we, the audience, can’t dictate what is already on the screen. We can’t just say that this film shouldn’t be considered a horror film because it was produced and marketed already as a horror film. To some extent, the expectation of the audience has no weight compared to the vision of the producers and the director. “Genres cannot, therefore, simply be defined by the expectations of ‘the audience’, because the audience is not a coherent body with a consistent set of expectations.” With the intent of making a horror film, the writers, producers, directors, and actors have a vision for the film that encompasses any form of expectation that this genre holds. It is up for interpretation to what kind of horror film Spring was made to be so it is not entitled to be a classic, run of the mill horror, slasher, demonic movie.
Modern day movie lovers will always have their go to movie in their own respective genre. Maybe it would be The Notebook for romance, Star Wars for sci-fi, or Evil Dead for horror, but this does not mean that if films of the same genre are below-expectations compared to the ‘best’ films there is something automatically wrong with the film.
Spring is not your typical horror, sci-fi, romance film, but I would still consider it a really good film. Not only was it able to draw you in with its story telling and unique concept, but it was also able to play with your emotions. The film sheds new light to the possibilities of the expansion of the horror genre and may lead to other possible mash-ups with other genres. It is not too often that a romance story could work in a horror-ish vibe of a movie. So I don’t see any problem with other possible cross overs hopefully leading to the same, if not better, results.
Mark Jancovich, “Genre and the Audience: Genre Classifications and Cultural Distinctions in the Mediation of The Silence of the Lambs.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002