A young man’s attempt to get attention on social media goes to the extreme in this thriller executive produced by Drake.
For over a decade, Kurt Kunkle has made attempts to go viral on social media. However, all of his attempts, which include his DJ father joining in, have failed miserably. Working as a babysitter, Kurt is stunned to learn that the kid he once babysat, Bobby, has become a viral star due to his prank channel and Kurt, nothing. Kurt decides to take drastic measures in his latest attempt to go viral.
Now working as a driver for rideshare service Spree, Kurt decides to put cameras in his car and record the passengers who come in for rides. There is one little catch. Kurt decides to kill them live on-air. However, when he still gets ridiculed, he takes very drastic measures. Things are going to be quite interesting when Kurt meets a potential threat in Jessie Adams, a stand-up comedian who has been gaining major rave and is becoming a huge hit. What will happen when Jessie becomes Kurt’s next ride?
Now this is something quite different as it melds both a cinematic trope and a real-life trope. The former involves a person resorting to killing in order to get attention, something used in the horror film genre. Then comes the real-life trope of someone aspiring to become a viral star and feels depressed when they don’t get the hits they hope to get. Well, this film from Ukrainian-born director Eugene Kotlyarenko meshes the two into a sometimes comedic but very bizarre (in a good way) film about a man’s resorting to murder all for viral stardom.
Joe Keery, best known for his role as Steve on the hit series Stranger Things, is a very crazy person in the role of Kurt Kunkle. The prologue shows some of his early futile attempts to get his “Kurt’s World” channel off the ground but to no avail. Ten years later, now at 23, Kurt decides to come up with a plan called “#thelesson” and this is where the madness begins. He starts slowly by poisoning some of his passengers with tainted water bottles. However, soon amps up the kills from forcing two passengers to get attacked by dogs to pulling off a nice little homage to The Slumber Party Massacre, and all of this with a smile on his face.
Former Saturday Night Live star Sasheer Zamata is excellent in the role of Jessie, a stand-up comedienne who has been making waves with her “All Eyes on Me” riff at her shows. She first meets Kurt while he has another passenger turned victim, but he grows increasingly jealous of not just her, but that of his former babysitting charge Bobby, played by former Vine star turned filmmaker Josh Ovalle. Ovalle will be best known as the “Hi! I’m Jared. I’m 19” guy. Here, he only supports Kurt as a means to ridicule him and soon enough, we know what’s expected. As for David Arquette, he makes the most of his role as Kyle, Kurt’s DJ father who tries to help his son but puts him in a very uncomfortable situation in one shocking scene. Even the finale goes quite unexpected but in such a good way possible.
Spree is a bizarre and insane (in a good way) look at a man’s desperate attempt at getting attention in a modern-day world where technology reigns supreme. Joe Keery gives a very psychotic breakout performance with Sasheer Zamata giving it her all as a strong female lead. Definitely one to check out.
WFG RATING: B+
RLJE Films presents a Forest Hill Entertainment production. Director: Eugene Kotlyarenko. Producers: Matthew Budman, Suamiya Kaveh, Eugene Kotlyarenko, and John H. Lang. Writers: Eugene Kotlyarenko and Gene McHugh. Cinematography: Jeff Leeds Cohn. Editing: Benjamin Moses Smith.
Cast: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette, Josh Ovalle, Kyle Mooney, Mischa Barton, Lala Kent, Frankie Grande, Jessalyn Gilsig, John DeLuca.