(directors: Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead; screenwriter: Justin Benson; cinematographer: Aaron Moorhead; editors: Michael Felker/Giulio Tiberti/Aaron Moorhead/Justin Benson; music: Jimmy Lavalle; cast: Lou Taylor Pucci (Evan), Jeremy Gardner (Tommy), Nadia Hilker (Louise), Francesco Carnelutti (Angelo), Nick Nevern (Thomas), Chris Palko (Bancroft Dawson), Vinny Curran (Mike), Shane Brady (Brad), Holly Hawkins (Nicole Russell, mom), Augie Duke (Jackie); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: David Lawson/Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead/Luca Legnani; Drafthouse Films; 2014-USA-in English with Italian, French, German)
“Engaging indie bittersweet love story taking on the genres of both horror and comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are co-directors (“Resolution”) of this engaging indie bittersweet love story taking on the genres of both horror and comedy. It should remind you of Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunrise’ trilogy.
An aimless but likable young man named Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci), from Southern California, who recently lost both parents, gets into a restaurant brawl in his workplace with a junkie and loses his sous-chef job. He thereby takes an impromptu trip to Italy to escape his bad luck.In southern Italy he goes on a hiking trip with a group of party-minded backpackers and becomes involved with an alluring but mysterious German genetics student Louise (Nadia Hilker).When the others in his party leave, he takes a bed-and-board job working for a local olive farmer (Francesco Carnelutti), which allows him to stay in the area to see Louise. They begin a torrid sexual relationship, but she’s secretive about her past.
When the lovesick Evan, in the final act, becomes aware that Louise requires regular injections for her decaying skin, he wonders if she’s a vampire. Her answer is a drawn out explanation that she’s a 2,000-year-old mutant. This certainly indicates that their passionate relationship is doomed. But the talky explanation about her condition slows down the film’s emotional momentum, as we learn of her fear of commitment and of being a mom–which is the dubious point the film wants to make about love at first sight romances.
The singular horror pic clamors for its sublime moments, as the uncertain fates of both lovers is tested in the search for what love entails when overwhelming obstacles must be overcome for a relationship to be sustained between an immortal and a mortal (yikes!).
Jimmy LaValle’s score is a winner.
REVIEWED ON 6/15/2019 GRADE: B