Cast: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette, Kyle Mooney, Mischa Barton and Joshua Ovalle
Directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko
Written by and Eugene Kotlyarenko Gene McHugh
One of a handful of films in recent years to take a look at the online “influencer” status which many celebrities have attained, ‘Spree’ takes us into the mind of Uber-style driver Kurt Kunkle (Joe Keery) as he tries a wide variety of methods to grow his following, until devising his ultimate plan which he only refers to as “The Lesson”.
As a depiction of the current state of the Internet, ‘Spree’ is pleasantly accurate. The way in which the film’s characters engage with their audience feels both modern and exciting, drawing the audience into the story in much the same way as they would if they were scrolling their own favourite celebrities Instagram or twitter page. The editing remains fast-paced and smooth throughout, further enforcing the realistic presentation of how audiences interact with social media these days. Of course, a couple years down the line we could be looking back at ‘Spree’ and commenting on how dated it looks, but with how quickly the internet grows and changes, I’d be surprised if any film managed to accurately depict both a modern aesthetic and a timeless image.
Joe Keery stars as an unhinged driver who will do anything to achieve online fame, and pulls off the role in both an exciting and engaging way. Unfortunately, the script provides little in the way of character development, and as a result it becomes difficult to take the more sincere or extreme elements of the story too seriously. It’s clear that ‘Spree’ is aiming to work as a social commentary on the current status of social media, but due to the lack of development in Keery and all other cast member’s characters, it’s hard to engage with the film on any level other than simply entertainment, which is ironic given that it’s working so hard to show that the entertainment which audiences crave from their favourite content creators is what’s causing this toxic environment.
Throughout the film there are frequent scenes which take place in the car of the main character, as well as exterior shots as Keery travels through Los Angeles. As the film is able to acknowledge the cameras on display due to them being a key element of the narrative, any scenes which took place in the vehicle felt like they were really well done, which is not something often achieved when it comes to filming in cars. ‘Spree’ doesn’t hold back when it comes to showing specific details of any scene, and as a result these moments can become both thrilling and tense.
Overall, I’d recommend ‘Spree’ as a great evening’s watch where you can either choose to engage with the film on a deeper level, or simply enjoy it as exciting entertainment. Hopefully in the near future, more and more people will be able to have film nights with their friends, and I think ‘Spree’ would be a great choice for such an occasion.