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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

[Review] ‘Spontaneous’ Explodes with Attitude, Charm, and Gore in Teen Dramedy

Trailers are a funny thing. They’re meant to entice viewers and sell tickets, so they’re cut in a way that maximizes that potential. That means that they can sometimes lead audience expectations away from what the film truly offers. The trailer for Spontaneous sets up the pretense of a lighthearted teen rom-com, just with a zany plot that unleashes torrents of blood. The reality is far more affecting, though no less bloody. This teen dramedy expands beyond the confines of a romcom, delivering something much more poignant and delightfully gory.

The romance between seniors Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer) has barely begun when students in their high school inexplicably start to explode. Literally explode, like human water balloons. Without rhyme or reason, or any answers by authorities, this afflicted class has no other choice but to live each day as though it’s their last. Because it very well might be. It proves to be a catalyst for love, loss, and bloody mayhem in this coming-of-age tale, unlike any other.

While Mara and Dylan become inseparable fast, and their burgeoning love story hits all the significant milestones of quirky teen cuteness, this is foremost Mara’s story. Langford, who’s quickly on the rise after her breakout turn in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, more than showcases her star power here. Mara fearlessly plunges headfirst into teen exploration and experimentation, and it’s the range of her emotional arc that impresses most. Langford imbues Mara with a warm spunk and feisty spirit, but deftly conveys her fear of looming death and the downward spiral that causes.

It’s hard not to watch this movie and see the correlation to our current situation. The teens of Covington High are quarantined, initially treated like contagious pariahs. It’s an affliction that stumps medical professionals as they race to find a cure. There are no symptoms that signal imminent doom, either, just random eruption. Of course, the source story came years prior, and the malady seems contained within a small geographic area. Mostly, the film’s comedic tone brings necessary levity that further separates this narrative from reality.

Director Brian Duffield (The BabysitterUnderwater), who adapted Aaron Starmer’s 2016 novel for the screen, strikes the perfect tonal balance in Spontaneous. He stretches both the comedy and the drama to its fullest, ensuring every facet of this story is keenly felt. For the most part, the exploding teens are meant to shock, but the over-the-top volume of blood splattering everywhere will elicit cackling, too. At a brisk pace with a narrative that kicks off around Halloween, Spontaneous makes for a zippy dramedy perfectly suited to the season.

Mara’s story will make you gasp and make you laugh, but it’ll sucker punch you, too. Still, as hard as the heartrending beats land, it’s a young adult movie, which means that it is prone to the familiar YA trappings and doesn’t go too in-depth with its central thesis. Spontaneous is all about living life to its fullest while you still can. Life is fleeting and unfair. It’s a sweet message, and Duffield’s film shows off the highs and the lows that entails while never really doing anything new or more complex. That’s okay, though. Between his direction, the breezy style, and Langford’s infectious spirit, Spontaneous makes for a highly entertaining time that’ll give you all the feels. It’s not a horror movie, but the copious use of blood, splattering brain matter, and bone makes for a horror adjacent coming-of-age story that has a blast killing teens. 

Spontaneous releases in select theaters on October 2 and on VOD October 6.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3634199/review-spontaneous-explodes-attitude-charm-gore-teen-dramedy/

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