My local Odeon finally re-opened yesterday, so I dusted off my limitless card and perched my butt in their delightful recliner seats in an otherwise empty screening of Eugene Kotlyarenko’s Spree. Starring Stranger Things’ Joe Keery, the film focuses in on the life of Keery’s superbly named Kurt Kunkle – a failing social media ‘influencer’ – who decides to turn his ride share driver gig into a murder spree for views.
The rise of social media stars and ‘influencers’ has been immense over the past decade and the amount of younglings we see doing viral challenges for four views (including their best mate next door) is mounting up. So when you have this purposely humorous yet wicked take on ‘going viral’, it’s drenched in a major dose of realism as we know – much like Kurt – that lots of people crave the attention, for good or bad, and would do some crazy things to get it. That’s the message Spree goes for and I think really sells quite well.
There’s nothing subtle about this, through the performances, the murder sequences, to the actual framing of the film – but that’s where I think the movi works: we live in an OTT viral world and nothing is too big or small. Yes, the story follows some predictable beats but the multi-screen visuals really work and the user interface – particularly the commenting from viewers whilst everything is kicking off – felt very real and really added to the intensity of it all. It certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I found Kotlyarenko’s influencer thriller to be an effective, vocal and overall enjoyable piece of silly cinema.