A Satanic Reading of Spring Breakers

Warning: here be spoilers.

Taking into account the combined power of all the bright, loud, disconnected edits in Harmony Korine’s latest offering, I found plenty to hate about Spring Breakers. Then, of course, there’s the repeated dialogue snippets (if characters say it over and over again it’s got to be important – right?), the obnoxious soundtrack and the murky sexual politics.

I could forgive all these creative choices that give form to this dream-haze odyssey if it weren’t for one thing: I hate the story, too. Character motivations are completely non-sensical so there’s not even a solid narrative to hold onto. There had to be something I missed. So after a lot of thinking, I’ve decided the only way the film makes sense is if you accept this simple truth: Brit and Candy are demons sent from hell.

Spring Breakers - Silver Screen Snobs

These two characters, played by Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens, are more or less interchangeable. They’re always on screen together, they have similar lines, they look and dress the same and both appear to be devoid of substance. Personally, I had trouble telling them apart. If you look back over the course of the story, however, you’ll find them to be Machiavellian puppet-masters, constantly driving the narrative forward. It’s their idea to rob the diner (an act that allows their journey to begin) and in which they revel with all its violence and chaos. In fact, as Brit and Candy are so emotionally detached throughout most of the film (as soulless creatures would be), it is telling when they later reenact the events of the robbery for Faith (Selena Gomez) and, for once, seem truly engaged as they relish the evil nature of their actions.

Observe their sinister mocking in the pool as the angelic Faith confides in them: “I’m starting to think this is the most spiritual place I’ve ever been”. The girls are delighting in their innocent companion’s fall from grace and into hedonism. Later on, they manipulate the two girls into staying with Alien (James Franco) and his dubious friends when all common sense screams that they should leave. Early in the film, a church friend of Faith warns her about the two girls: “You watch out for those two – they’s got the demon blood”. The extraneous Christianity sub-plot takes on new meaning if you accept Brit and Candy as evil: the first half of the film is a battle for Faith’s soul. Rachel Korine’s Cotty, on the other hand, is completely mesmerized by the demonic duo and unquestioningly follows them like a good disciple, until a bullet shatters the spell.

Spring Breakers - Silver Screen Snobs

Once Faith and Cotty have escaped the nightmare, the girls turn their attention completely onto Alien – who, at this point, is essentially their slave – encouraging him to undertake a suicidal assault on his enemy’s fortress. Brit and Candy are mildly annoyed with letting the girls slip away from their own Gomorrah so their flippant reaction is to wreak havoc before they leave. The insincere phone calls to home sound like the words of beings unaffected by humanity; they were, after all, just playing a role. The climatic sequence is completely illogical if you read the girls as bored co-eds. As demons, however, it explains how they are able to casually take out an entire posse of gangsters while remaining unharmed by the bullets. Look at their bored expressions as they drive home after the massacre: it’s clear that the experience had no effect on them whatsoever. And why would it? They’re freaking demons.

Spring break forever, bitches.

Tom Roe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *