Spring follows Evan who has recently lost his mother and his job. He then travels to Europe where he meets Louise and is very much enamored by her. Unfortunately, Louise is an unknown immortal being who only wanted his sperm for longevity. It all ends quite happily as Louise falls in love with Evan.
The film plays on a lot of elements in horror. My favorite one has to be that of Robin Wood’s Othering. In which, the ‘other’ ends up as a monstrous character. The other is someone not understood and usually outcast by society. In this film, it can be said that the other is Louise. Louise says “Just because you don’t know it, does it mean it’s supernatural?” When Louise first kills the rabbit, I thought that she was probably some kind of witch or a member of some kind of cult. Which, in my opinion is something quite frightening. Then multiple times within the film she transforms in some kind of a beast. Until she explained what she really was she I thought of her as a threat in the film. For me, the ‘horror’ part could be condensed in the moment where Evan and the audience didn’t know what she was yet. However, once her background was revealed the film fell back into the light and easy romantic comedy genre.
One of my favorite scenes in the film was when the obnoxious American guy approached Louise and Louise cut off his balls. Usually, the monster in slasher films are male. In this case, the Louise was female. It was quite satisfying to watch because I it is rare to find horror films where females are not victims. As Clover states, males in horror films tend toward sexual violence and victimizations in females. However, Louise was far from a victim. So I think that having a powerful female character cutting off men’s balls must be quite terrifying in a male dominated society.
In my opinion, Louise was quite an exceptional character. Indeed she was so much of the ‘other’. First off, Louise states that in the small town, there isn’t that much genetic variation which indicates that families in the town have been in that town for generations. As an outsider, she is an ‘other’. There was also a scene where she was the one who invited Evan to have casual sex. Having a woman confident in her own sexuality and having casual sex is not common especially in catholic society. As mentioned previously, women tend toward victimization. Louise is the anti-thesis of this as she is very much in control of her body. Aside from this, she was quite an accomplished woman, who studied in the sciences. Science is usually a male dominated field and it was satisfying to watch a woman excel in such a field on film.
To be honest, when we were watching the film in class up until the last thirty minutes or so I was thinking, “How is this horror?” At the beginning of the film, I thought that Evan’s mom’s ghost would follow him to Europe. Midway through the film, after Evan and Louise met, I thought “Is the horror in the film an unwanted pregnancy?” Only at the last thirty to forty minutes did any semblance of horror appear on screen. Spring is somewhat reminiscent of Triangle, in the way that it toes the line between what is considered horror and what is not. However, because there is a rise in hybrid films, Hawkins points out that worthwhile films are able to bring something new to the genre which changes our perception of the parameters in horror film. Jancovich also points out that the definition of horror changes depending on the tastes of the audience. In this sense, I think that it helped that the film was shown towards the end of class because I had a wider conception of what horror is (digressing from the conventional, classic horror films). I did like the film despite this. The concept of the film, in my opinion, was fresh and unique. I loved how intelligent the film sounded, especially when they weaved biology in to explain the supernatural aspect of the film. That said, I personally still find it hard to categorize the film under horror. I think there were 4 types genre Spring could fit in to: romantic comedy, philosophical, a little bit of science fiction, and horror – all cleverly woven in together in one amazing movie. The style of the film worked and I think the producers of the film pulled it off spectacularly.
Robin Wood, “The American Nightmare: Horror in the 70s.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).
Carol J. Clover, “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).
Joan Hawkins, “Sleaze Mania, Euro-trash, and High Art: The Place of European Art Films in American Low Culture.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).
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).