Spree (2020) A Review

Everyone’s favourite babysitter is back, and taking on a new kind of role.  And while Joe Keery is great in this film, it doesn’t make up for the rest of it being just…OK.

Certificate: 15

Director: Eugene Kotlyarenko

Screenwriter: Eugene Kotlyarenko, Gene McHugh

Starring: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette

Genre: Thriller, Comedy

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Desperate to be a Social Media sensation, Kurt Kunkle has devised a crazy way to increase his following.  After being on social media for ten years, and barely scraping double digits on his live streams, Kurt Kunkle decides he needs to do something dramatic to gain popularity.  And what better plan then to set up cameras in his rideshare vehicle, and record himself killing off his passengers in increasingly violent ways.   This film shows the very worst side of social media platforms and the toxic behaviour of the people who dwell there.

Social Media is everywhere.  We all use it, almost every day.  And as such it is starting to show up in more and more films of this kind.  Films like ‘Ingrid goes West’ and to an extent ‘Nerve’ where the real bad guy od the film isn’t the people committing the heinous acts, but the observers on the other end of their devices, encouraging them to do it.  And while that is an interesting premise, and while films like this are important to critique and question the morality of the platforms, this film in particular just didn’t hit home for me.

Joe Keery is great, and long, long way away from everyone favourite baseball wielding babysitter Steve Harrington, it is great to see him stretching his wings and trying something different.  But at the same time, his innocent face and floppy hair go a long way to making you like Kurt as a character.  It’s just a shame that the rest of him is so damn annoying.  He spends a good, like a really good, amount of the film complaining about why he doesn’t have any followers and desperately begging more successful influencers than himself to tag him on their platforms, it is almost too unbearable to watch.  I would feel sorry for him, if we had been given a decent backstroy that explained how he became this way, but we don’t, not really.  Instead we are just left to wonder.  And to sadly see a little of that attention seeking hound in ourselves.

The film was neither suspenseful enough to be a thriller, scary enough to be a horror or funny enough to be a comedy.  It really didn’t know what it wanted to be.  And while there were great bits and pieces to be found, it didn’t stick with one genre enough to ever really find it’s feet.

I also got a little fed up with the shaky camera, a lot of this film was shot as though through the lens of a smartphone, or dashboard cam style like ‘Carpool Karaoke.’  The constant ‘comments’ and ‘Likes’ going on at the bottom of the screen were annoying and distracting and while a clever style choice for the kind of film it was, didn’t add to my enjoyment of the film at all.

This one really wasn’t for me.  I can’t recommend it, but fans of slasher flicks may get a few good chuckles. 

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