An interview with :

Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Critically acclaimed since its release in 2015, Spring could well be the catalyst of modern-horror.  I caught up with Jason and Aaron for a short interview. 

DGE: I have to ask, but Spring seems a complex movie on first viewing so where did the movie originate? What gave you the idea of the original story? Also you have teamed up again with Aaron Moorhead and again it seems the chemistry between you both works very well during filming (if the movies are anything to go by) . How did your partnership with Aaron first come about?

J&A: The ol' TWO QUESTIONS IN ONE GAME, HUH?! After our first film being a character-centric genre film that took a close look at an old friendship, we wanted to do something similar with a romance, but this time really show our monster.

And we met at an internship at a commercial production company, just shuffling papers and coffee and peoples' lunch around and quickly becoming disillusioned with our titles as interns. It was Justin's last day, Aaron's first day, and over the course of a few months we started working together more and more because we had a matching taste in film, similar work ethic, and between the two of us could do almost every job on set.

DGE: Going back to 2012, your wrote a movie called Resolution that in itself was an excellent movie. There are some similarities in both Resolution and Spring in that both are subtle with the context of the storyline and build up nicely to finale many wouldn’t expect. Without wanting to give any spoilers away, both movies don’t necessarily rely on quick scares and loud bangs to draw in an audience and instead rely solely on the viewers own interpretations. Is this an aspect of writing that just comes naturally to you or are you consciously aware of not using cheap clichés for a quick scare?

J&A: We think it's both. We don't really get any excitement from the easy scare, so in some ways it's intrinsic to the way that we work, but if it ends up creeping into our work we almost always find a way to weed it out. We're a lot more concerned with the scare that happens after the movie's over, when you're thinking about it in bed that night. Or the lingering dread that happens in between the scenes.

DGE: Spring was filmed in Italy, Polignano a Mare. Apart from making Spring look even more stunning, I have to ask but why this location in particular?

J&A: Justin had been to the Amalfi coast before, so he had a great mental map in his head of where everything is, and there's just something about the juxtaposition of that glassy turquoise perfect water with a floating dead body -- that kind of comparison happens all over the film. That particular region was a lot more indie film friendly than the Amalfi Coast would have been, they threw their doors open to us in a scout and that city was just so damn charming.

DGE: At the beginning of the movie, Evan meets two English guys and joins them on their trip but they soon disappear from sight without any real story telling (if that’s the correct terminology). Usually in a movie something sinister happens to them (i.e., Hostel) or they play an integral part to the movie and become heroes of sorts. In Spring its the complete opposite? Was this always the plan?

J&A: They do have a part to play, but it's a lot more subtle than a lot of films. On a practical level they get him to the town he's headed to, although of course there are quicker ways to do that if that's all we needed. What we really wanted was to keep Evan in a world where he's bouncing between having no idea what to do on his own, and being surrounded by people who have no idea how to help him deal with his newfound grief/ennui. They continued that up until he meets Louise. We don't mind that they don't come back in the end, it keeps the audience on their toes as to where the movie's headed. If you abuse that privilege then the film could really tank because it feels too aimless, but in the right doses it's just a great way to take a moment to enjoy the movie without the ability to predict its direction.

DGE: There is some debate on online forums about what Louise actually ‘is’. From the clues hidden throughout the movie, ie we find out she works within Genetics and she keeps referring to historical characters and some mythological ones at that. Some have even suggested she is ALL of the creatures mentioned throughout mankind. Can you let us in on the answer or are we best left to make up our own conclusions?

J&A: What's great about this monster is that she's an entirely new one. She's unnamed. We don't have a name for Louise's monster. We should probably figure one out. It would be so cool to see fan fiction or another film someday use Louise's monster.

DGE: The onscreen chemistry between Evan and Louise seemed genuine which helps pull the viewer in. Where you expecting both actors to put in a performance so believable? Obviously as a director everything has to be believable but in Spring it just seems so flawless at times.

J&A: We'd like to say we demand that performance of every actor, but honestly all it ever comes down to is choosing the right person for the role. Lou and Nadia (who played Evan and Louise) are talented individuals in their own right, and if they hadn't been, of course, what you saw onscreen would never work. And I'm allowed to say this because I didn't write it (this is Aaron), the script that Justin wrote flows so neatly

DGE: I’ve read somewhere that during the scene within the church, you were not allowed to film anything that was deemed as supernatural or paranormal. How true is this and did it cause any major re-writes or rescheduling of the film?

J&A: This is totally true! The church was really cool with the movie, but the Vatican would not approve anything supernatural. It didn't cause a crisis, and to this day I can't believe how well it worked: we shot the wide shots in the church (with a little help from compositing on a tail in one wide), and then moved to our white-walled production offices and decorated it with a couple pews/benches the church let us borrow to shoot the makeup and special effects portion in medium-closeups. Even the echo in the room was similar. Even watching the dailies of that scene we'd forgotten they were two different locations, and we were there!

DGE: When watching Spring for the first time, I was second-guessing pretty much everything and seemingly getting it wrong every time. An example being that of the end of the movie. Without wanting to give any spoilers away, was the ending we see originally intended or was a darker, possibly more disturbing ending planned?

J&A: That was always the way the movie ever ended. It's the only way it really can end and give any satisfaction.

DGE: Talking about the ending, whilst it seemingly looks like a closed ending, `could` there be a sequel (or even a prequel) in the offing? A prequel could show us more of Louise`s past perhaps? And what have you got lined up for fans of your movies in terms of future releases? Can you possibly let us in on any ideas?

J&A: We don't have any plans for a sequel. Louise's story definitely goes on before and after the film, but there isn't really any plan to tell it outside of drunken speculation at a bar. But of course, we're working on more movies. One about Alister Crowley, one a revenge/scifi/western, one a TV show kinda like a coming-of-age tale with the mystery of LOST.

DGE: If you had to sum up Spring the movie in one sentence, what would it be.

J&A: This sounds like we're patting ourselves on the back too hard here, but fuck it, we stand by it: Spring is the best date movie ever.

DGE: The final question is a fun one Im asking other writers and directors: We have been inundated in recent years with remakes/reboots. Firstly, how do you feel about remakes and IF you were asked by company execs to choose ANY movie from the past to remake/reboot – which would it be? Let’s just say you have a free reign to choose any movie!

J&A: Remakes and reboots aren't inherently good or bad, it's just how necessary they are and how well they're executed. Not that the Dark Knight Trilogy wasn't perfection, but we want Batman.!


Spring (2015)

Synopsis (IMDB) : A young man in a personal tailspin flees from US to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret.

Directed by : Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Written by : Justin Benson

Cast :  Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Francesco Carnelutti, Nick Nevern, Chris Palko, Jonathan Silvestri, Jeremy Gardner, Vinny Curran

My Rating :

A review with spoilers

Every now and then, a movie comes out that hits you right between the eyes and one that often goes under the radar in terms of hype and all the razzmatazz that the big hitters in Hollywood drip feed us with.

Spring is simply movie brilliance.

From its sweet and yet tragic story-line to the cinematic scenes that grace the screen that blend in well with the melodic theme throughout.

Forget your Babadooks, It Follows, World War Z`s and all the other massively over-hyped movies of recent times.

Whilst those mentioned may well be good movies, Spring offers the viewer something quite extraordinary and new.

What we have is a story of a young man, Evan, who leaves America in a hurry after a scuffle in a bar and the threats that come shortly after to try and put his past to bed and move on with his life.

Its only a few days into his trip, in Italy, before he meets Louise, a mysterious, beautiful young woman with a flirtatious nature.  They soon strike up a romance and Evan starts to fall madly in love with Louise.

However all is not as it seems as Louise has a secret that she is badly trying to conceal.

Strange things start to happen in the idyllic village in which Evan and Louise live, from cats (and other animals) being found slaughtered to the murder of a drunken reveler.  Oblivious to the fact that Louise`s demeanor is changing, Evan falls deeper in love before he finally uncovers her secret.

Throughout the movie, the viewer is given subtle signs of what is to come.  From flowers that bloom at the wrong time of season, to slaughtered animals being found and slugs and other creatures appearing at peoples doors.

Oh, and the syringes found littered around Louise apartment.

The movie is sort-of split into three segments.  The first being Evan and his troubled past in America, the second of Evan arriving in Puglia, Italy and meeting Louise to the finale when Evan uncovers Louise`s dark secret.

As for the horror hounds reading this.  This is not your run of the mill, full on blood and guts horror movie.  Its possibly not even scary.  Its a slow-burner but with many WTF! moments.  Its brilliantly paced though, and whilst I say its a slow-burner, there is always something happening which is a blessing as you never really have the chance to switch-off.

Neither is Spring and out-and-out romantic thriller.  Yes, there are lots of scenes of kissing, holding hands and all the lovey-dovey stuff we see in other movies of that ilk.  Spring is much more.  Its a mix of horror, romance and sci-fi, all neatly mixed together.

The final act of the movie will leave you mesmerized, sad, happy and gobsmacked all at the same time.

Spring is being touted as the best horror movies of 2015.  I wouldn't disagree.

It's out now in the shops and stores so please, I beg you, go out and pick up a copy.  This is one movie that deserves to promoted to the masses and for me to say this, well, it must be a good movie!

I rarely give a movie a 5 star rating but SPRING definately deserves it.

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