Monster Monday: Louise

monstermondaylogo

A few weeks ago, Sam and I sat down to watch Spring (2014), a horror-romance from directors Justin springcoverBenson and Aaron Moorhead.  We were both rather unsure of what to expect, but the film has gathered quite a few devoted followers and generated quite a bit of positive buzz, so we were intrigued. And when I met Louise, I was even more intrigued. (FYI, today’s Monster Monday contains major spoilers for Spring.)

The beginning of the film centers on Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) an young American who finds himself fleeing to Italy after the death of his mother and a bar-fight that could get him arrested. Once abroad, he accompanies a pair of British bros to a small Italian town, and there he meets Louise (Nadia Hilker). She gives him the brush-off at first, but he is persistent—persistent enough to take a job with a nearby farmer and settle in the town that Louise calls home.

Bit by bit, the Average American Fellow wins Louise over. She goes on a date with him; they kiss; they have sexy times; they wander about the small, picturesque town together; they talk about a future. Well, Evan talks about a future. One of the first hints that Louise is operating on a different level than Evan is her cagey way of responding to his discussions about the future.

Louise is a geneticist working on inherited traits in homogenous populations. And she is operating on a different level entirely than Evan. Lest we forget, this is a horror-romance. And at some times, it is easy toSpring forget that there’s a horrific element to the screen play. Much of the film plays out with the grace of a beautifully shot romance.

But then, small moments creep into the film: the beautiful shot turns to a rotting corpse on the ground nearby or to a glimpse of the monster. Sometimes she looks—well—different: an area of mottled skin, a patch of fur, scales and fangs…All things that prompt Louise to use the injections she carries with her, injections that return her to normal human form. Evan, who is convinced he is in love with Louise, doesn’t see any of this, of course, but we do.

And it’s engrossing. I found myself just waiting for those small moments of monstrosity, wondering what Louise could be. I quickly ran down a list of all kinds of mythical creatures, but none fit—and rightly so, since Louise is a genetic anomaly. Eventually she reveals this to Evan, along with the information that she’s 2,000 years old. Every 20 years she gets pregnant and then regenerates, turning into a new being with half of her genes, half of her mates genes, and all of her memories.

She’s pregnant now, and the closer she moves to regenerating, the more monstrous she becomes. She

Ummm...Evolution?
Ummm…Evolution?

cycles through evolutionary forms as she moves toward renewal. There’s a catch though—as always. If she’s fallen in love, the oxytocin released will interfere with the regeneration. She’ll become human, in essence. She knows this because it happened to her mother, who was killed with the rest of the family when Pompeii was destroyed.

Evan latches onto this idea, of course. He wants Louise to settle down with him, have a family. Raise their child. But Louise never seems sure of their relationship, which of course began because she needed a mate for regeneration. The only time she seems close to loving Evan is after he’s seen her turn into a monster and still stayed beside her. She seems never to have revealed that to anyone, and she is utterly surprised that he doesn’t start up a mob or at least run away screaming.

And perhaps that is why she falls in love with him, despite her protestations and despite her objections. Because at film’s end, Louise doesn’t transform, indicating that oxytocin has interrupted her regenerationspring and that she does, in fact, love Evan. Still, I find this problematic. Evan’s character is not incredibly compelling, and he certainly pressures Louise into all kinds of things. She’s 2,000 years old, at least, and she’s presumably not been in love before, so her protests that she does not love this boy she’s only known for a week seem entirely valid.

Until they’re not.

I wish our monster got a better ending, or that her happy ending seemed happier somehow. Instead, it feels as though she’s giving away an essential element of herself without wanting to. The monstrous feminine submits, and the Average White Guy wins. Louise will likely have offspring like herself, and she will grow old and die, perhaps not even with this fellow who she’s only known for a week. Love is funny that way. And so are monsters.

Advertisements

8 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. Interesting review. I hadn’t heard of this film, but we’ve got Amazon Prime so might check it out. I can anticipate feeling the same way as you regarding the ending. It sounds anticlimatic. Now, if the Average White Guy was more like the Exceptional British Guy aka Richard Armitage, I could definitely see Louise chucking the monster in her and settling down 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha….I’m watching him in Hannibal right now, and he’s really good at the creepy.

      The film is really beautiful, and in some ways it’s very good. But the ending just felt forced.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched this film recently because all the reviews I’d read intrigued me. I love horror movies that aren’t typical and this one definitely isn’t. Spring has stayed with me. It is beautiful and mysterious, but something about it bothered me. You’ve named it. The monster has been “tamed.” The ending is satisfying for a love story, but disappointing for Louise. She is giving up a big part of herself for this future – a part that has been with her for over 2000 years.

    “The monstrous feminine submits, and the Average White Guy wins.” Some might even say he saved her from herself. Isn’t that the storyline everyone loves?

    Part of the problem is that most films are still being made from the white male perspective. No offence to that perspective, but there are so many others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the movie was really beautifully shot, and in some ways I quite enjoyed the film. But I thought our monster deserved a better ending, or at least more dignity about her fate: having her protest loving him up to the moment of sunrise was just too much. Very white male gaze-y, yes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What an excellent review! I hadn’t heard of this movie. Now I’ll have to look for it. It sounds very interesting. I was reading and thinking along the same lines of her not really wanting to do something but ending up doing it and losing a part of herself. Very nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to Me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s