Movie #160 2021: Spontaneous (2020)

Whatever you do, don’t judge a book movie by its cover poster. In the case of Spontaneous, the poster and promotional images that come with it are no less than abysmal. Basically, the artwork reduces what is actually a really interesting coming-of-age movie down to your standard, boring teen romance. And that is not what this movie is… like, at all.

Spontaneous stars Katherine Langford (Thirteen Reasons Why, Knives Out, Love, Simon), who has become one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses over the last few years. Whilst the horrendous movie poster put me off watching it initially, the synopsis drew me right back in. In short, the students of one high school in particular begin to spontaneously explode for no good reason. Yes, you read that correctly. When Langford’s Mara meets fellow classmate Dylan (Charlie Plummer, Looking for Alaska, Boardwalk Empire), they feel an immediate connection, and begin to spend their days together attempting to remain in one piece.

Spontaneous' Review – The Hollywood Reporter

The last time I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed a movie? Right now, actually. Maybe the lame ass poster threw me off. (Sorry, not sorry. I will literally keep mentioning that stupid poster forevermore.)

First and foremost, there are a bunch of stylistic choices in Spontaneous that help it to stand out from other teen movies. The breaking of the fourth wall, the blending of genres (teen/horror/black comedy/romance), the witty dialogue; all of these things work together in tandem to transform something that could have been unoriginal into something unique. I’ve honestly never seen such brilliant genre-blending in a teen movie before.

Teenagers Are Exploding! - SPONTANEOUS: First 5 Minutes From The Movie  (2020)

As expected, Katherine Langford brings her A game in this one: her performance as Mara is her most charismatic yet, as she fills her character with angst and anger effortlessly whilst keeping a sense of (admittedly dark) humour. The supporting cast is pretty great too, particularly Hayley Law (who is clearly not 17 years old but who gives a shit?) as the best friend. Though I was only familiar with her work in Riverdale before this, it’s nice to know that she’s being rewarded with more worthwhile outlets for her talent nowadays.

Some of the narrative itself is a little predictable, but mostly, it’s pretty entertaining throughout. I wasn’t a huge fan of the last 15 minutes or so and it REALLY pissed me off that they never figured out what caused the whole thing, but some of the one-liners and reaction shots made it worth the watch. One scene specifically that I will remember for a long time includes Mara breaking a policewoman’s car window, which made me laugh out loud. (Sounds less funny than it actually is, I promise.)

Throw in a peppy soundtrack and some ridiculously fun cinematography and you get an above average teen horror comedy. Spontaneous is just that. While it won’t change anyone’s life, it’s a fun little movie that deserves more THAN THAT WRETCHED POSTER!

Spontaneous is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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