Spree is available to rent or buy now on all major platforms.
At what point does fiction become a reality, and where does privacy start and stop? This question has never been more challenging in an online world of clickbait, blogs and viral videos. Our lives are now embedded in the viral world of social media and its strange mix of fantasy vs reality, with social media influencers bathing us in product placements and staged reality. Over the past year, several horrors and thrillers have attempted to reflect this new world, from Don’t Click to Don’t Look Back. However, few films have reflected the psychotic need for fame like Spree.
Kurt (Joe Keery) has spent his entire life online; his video channel KurtsWorld96 a diary of his ambition to make it big as a social-media celebrity. However, Kurt has a problem, his site only has a handful of subscribers, and his dedication has achieved little in creating the fame he desires. Meanwhile, a kid he used to babysit has thousands of followers, product tie-ins and fans. But Kurt is not about to give up or walk away; he has a new idea to increase his fame overnight, using his job as a spree driver as clickbait.
READ MORE: DON’T CLICK
Spree is a wildly creative horror/comedy bathed in deliciously dark social satire; its 93-minute runtime full of bold comedy and horror. Here Spree pokes and prods at the classic serial killer story while unpicking the utter madness of our social media obsessed world. However, the fact that Spree pushes the boundaries of horror/comedy will undoubtedly create a marmite effect in its popularity, with some feeling nothing but disgust for Kurt. In contrast, others will celebrate the film’s ability to dissect the madness of our online world.
Of course, the concept of killing for fame is nothing new in film, from Natural Born Killers through to the devilishly dark humour of Heathers, and one could argue that Spree has much in common with the latter. Here its ability to lace dark comedy with a dissection of modern culture and trends is alive with creativity.
READ MORE: FOLLOWERS
Kurt’s behaviour marks a slow descent into madness moulded by his need for attention, place and purpose, his floating moral compass jumping wildly from one extreme to the other. Kurt has no offline life. Here his world is a phone screen and his character an invented persona. This creates a fascinating dynamic, as we pity him despite the carnage he creates. Our limited compassion reflects our shared understanding that people like Kurt exist in our world. Of course, most will never become killers, but they are slaves to a false notion that likes and views equate to success and popularity. Here, Joe Keery’s performance deserves high praise, his youthful energy and devilish charm hiding deep insecurities.
Filmed entirely on phones and dash cams, Spree feels like a 93-minute live stream you can’t turn off as it pays homage to the darker work of Michael Haneke. Here director Eugene Kotlyarenko ensures the viewer is partly accountable for the murderous rampage that ensues as we casually consume Kurt’s media output – our need for entertainment encouraging Kirk’s actions. It’s here that Spree’s message truly resonates; after all, clickbait, likes, toxic behaviour and trolls do not exist without us, and murderers do not achieve immortality without our desire to revisit their actions continually.
Director: Eugene Kotlyarenko