Mara is excited about her budding romance with Dylan.
Mara (Katherine Langford) is looking forward to her final semester of high school, along with her best friend Tess (Hayley Law), expecting it to be filled with fun times and experiences on the way to graduation in June. But her idyllic outlook on life is shattered when one day in class, a fellow student literally explodes, leaving her and her classmates covered in blood and gore. The filmmakers are careful that viewers don’t actually see the person exploding, but rather the immediate aftermath of splatter and shocked reactions. Thus starts the somewhat unusual story line of Spontaneous, which is really a cleverly plotted coming of age film. Clearly such a strange development will change one’s outlook of life, and we see the first effect of this soon after, when Mara and Tess are seated at a restaurant and approached by Dylan (Charlie Plummer) who tells Mara that he had been eying her for several years now. Dylan explains that the recent event at school made him realize that he should act on his impulses, something that nonpluses Mara but at the same time flatters her that someone mostly unknown to her has a romantic interest in her.
Dylan and Mara are rounded up by a government haz-mat team.
The two start to connect and Mara discovers that Dylan has a witty and self-deprecating manner that she finds enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. Dylan’s enthusiasm and genuine interest soon breaks through Mara’s cynicism about high school boys, and the two start having a serious relationship. For Mara this couldn’t occur at a better time, as the explosions continue to plague the senior class. Dylan’s steady hand and light manner is just what she needs in a world that suddenly makes no sense at all. Dylan’s presence is especially needed when the explosions start occurring outside of school. The most egregious of these incidents is when Mara is riding in a vehicle with two other friends, Jenna and Joe (Laine McNeil and Clive Holloway). Joe is driving when he suddenly explodes. There is a struggle to gain control of the car which ultimately crashes. Mara manages to escape from the car, then runs in the woods towards a river to clean herself from the blood and gore. Dylan drives up to the crash site, and when he figures out that Mara was in the crash, hurries after her to provide much needed comfort.
Dylan responds to Mara after she presents him with a play room.
As the story progresses the film takes a different twist as the government takes over and confines the seniors to a research facility. There is a faction of town residents blaming the students as a tool of the devil. The students themselves are in shock as their boyfriends and girlfriends are randomly taken away, leaving them and their parents fearing that they will be next. There is an ongoing parade of memorial services as the faces of the victims flash by on the screen. The government has no real success in figuring out what causes the explosions, and eventually releases the students after giving them blue pills. Mara is very grateful to be free again. Now realizing that her time could be up at any moment, Mara goes all out in her relationship with Dylan, a real coming of age moment for her. There are still many twists and turns in the story to come, but these are best left to viewers seeing Spontaneous for the first time.
Dylan and Mara dance together.
Based on Aaron Starmer’s novel, writer/director Brian Duffield has given us not only a dark comedy with some truly funny moments like the ET scene in the government facility, but also thought-provoking drama. This is so unusual in the context of a horror movie, but Spontaneous is so much more. Many of the plot elements relate to events of today, even ones happening later than when it was produced. The film has many surprises that will keep you entertained. It’s not a family film but older teens and adults will find it quite interesting. Excellent performances by Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer get the viewer immediately engaged in their relationship, and there is a lot of character development, especially for Mara. You can view Spontaneous on Prime Video, Blu-ray or DVD. It is definitely worth checking out.
Mara contemplates her future after the many tragedies.
Mara's high top chucks are covered in blood after the first explosion.
Katherine Langford in her role as Mara wears black high top chucks in most of the scenes of the film. She did have on a pair of white high top chucks in the first explosion scene, most likely to better show off the impact of the blood and gore. There are also a number of good scenes of her in her black high tops at school, like when she brings Dylan to their playroom, and they dance together to celebrate their romance.
Mara contemplating her future.
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