Dark Comedy ‘Spontaneous’ Provides Rare Intelligence For Teen Genre

From writer-director Brian Duffield and based on the novel by Aaron Starmer, Spontaneous is the rare teen dramedy that comes along at the perfect time. Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer star as high school seniors whose classmates are dying in gruesome explosions for no apparent reasons.

Though the filmmakers could not have foreseen opening during a global pandemic, especially prescient in the U.S. where coronavirus cases continue to surge, Spontaneous is a fitting reminder for 2020: all we have is now. Duffield’s entertaining and thoughtful dramedy will undoubtedly provide comfort to young and old adults alike. 

“Comforting” is a strange adjective to describe a film in which multiple teenagers literally explode in a volcano of blood and gore in front of their peers. But it couldn’t be more relevant: the randomness of the event, the unlikelihood of people dying all around us at random rates is extremely fitting for the world we live in now. No one knows what’s causing the explosions, when they could happen next and what could potentially stop it – not unlike the virus ending so many lives at a rapid pace all over the world.

Courtesy of Paramount

With funny dialogue that echoes the voices of actual teenagers,  Spontaneous is the rare teen film that really works – and despite the outlandish plot and an undertone of impending doom, it never takes itself too seriously. Langford and Plummer are talented and dynamic leads in a story about young love, being yourself and living for today. And yes, mixed in with its cleverness and tightly-written moments are the gruesome images of teenagers violently dying, for no apparent reason. Comparisons could be drawn to rising anxiety rates in teenagers and the disturbing epidemic of school shootings – but in actuality, Spoontaneous is one of those movies where you have to decide for yourself what it means – and be surprised by how much it means, despite its premise on the surface. 

Mind blown.

Spontaneous premieres at select drive-ins Oct. 2; available to stream on digital and VOD Oct. 6.