SPONTANEOUS not only easily enters one of my top 5 films of the year so far, but it is easily the best blind buy I have ever made on VUDU. Ever. It also joins Palm Springs and The Devil All The Time as two of the best straight to streaming movies I have ever seen. And…you’ve probably never heard of this film. That’s okay, that’s what I’m here for. It stars 13 Reason’s Why Katherine Langford (she played Hannah Baker) and IMDB describes it with the following: “Get ready for the outrageous coming-of-age love story about growing up…and blowing up. When students in their school begin exploding (literally), seniors Mara and Dylan struggle to survive in a world where each moment may be their last.” It sounds sort of like schlocky fun right? WRONG. This movie takes itself as seriously as it should, blending a pitch perfect trifecta of tone, romance, and dramedy (mostly drama). I was enthralled the entire hour and 41 minute run time and I couldn’t believe how invested I was in the story, characters, the atmosphere of the movie, everything about it. It was also very eerie, because when you watch it you can easily make sound parallels with what is happening in the movie to the bullshit year we’ve been having because of COVID-19. The movie is bloody fun, but it is also very moving, tense, and I was choked up with moments by the end credits. It breaks the 4th wall a couple of times, but not enough to be annoying, and I’m a breaking the 4th wall connoisseur. This movie is better than it had any right to be. It’s a horror film, a sci-fi film, a romance film, a teenage angst film, a quarantine film, a riveting drama, it’s an almost everything film, definitely not for young kids. It’s as if David Cronenberg’s Scanners fucked and had a baby with any John Hughes film you happen to have in your video library.
Any other year, if this movie had played in theaters, and I was a member of the Academy or a producer of this film, I would try and get Katherine Langford an Academy Award nomination. She completely sheds Hannah Baker from her persona…fuck, she sheds any other character she has ever played in other films and completely gives in to Mara’s weird yet lovable teen angst phase. I loved her in this movie. Charlie Plummer, who plays Dylan, is very solid, although I couldn’t tell much of a difference from his performance in this and another film I saw recently where he was also one of the main protagonists, Words On Bathroom Walls. I want to describe why this movie is so great and why it resonated with me so well, but to do that, I would have to divulge a lot of the surprises this movie has in store for you, so this is going to be one of my rare two paragraph reviews, even though I want to scream its praises. Let’s just say if you don’t like this movie, then it’s probably hard to please you with most movies, and you should stick with mind numbing cheap fare like that new American Pie Girls’ Rules movie, which I just reviewed earlier today. This movie was adapted from a novel I now want to read and directed by Brian Duffield, who has been more miss than hit in his career. He wrote the one time watch Underwater earlier this year and he also wrote Insurgent…the second shit film in the Divergent Series (which didn’t even finish the 4 film plan it had)…but he also wrote Netflix’s fun The Babysitter film. Spontaneous is easily his best and another film he wrote comes out next week that I’m definitely going to check out because of this, called Love and Monsters (he didn’t direct it though). He’s a great director here and wish he would try his hand at more. The spontaneous combustion is quite scary and serious, and he films it in a way where it looks real and not schlocky. I spontaneously wanted to watch this movie when I saw a trailer, but I encourage you to skip that and check it out after you spontaneously read just this review.