Review: Spree (Sundance 2020)


Title: Spree
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Eugene Kotlyarenko
Starring: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins

What It Is: Weird guy on Youtube Kurt Kunkle (Keery) is desperate for a following. A popular fellow streamer he used to babysit agrees to be featured on his rideshare Livestream show when things go awry due to Kurt’s final, most elaborate, and fatal plan to get famous.

What We Think: There were parts that are really fun about this movie. First of all, Keery’s performance as the dorky mop-headed sociopath is almost adorably charming. He pulls off the irony of the character, this sort of wide-eyed spoof of big-time view-hungry influencers (cough, cough, Jake Paul and school shooters). His cheeky, knowing little side glances at the camera are a hoot. Also a perk–I actually really really appreciated how the film was formatted through actual streams and youtube videos. That’s how the whole movie is filmed, through surveillance and intended entertainment and it’s so cleverly dealt with. All the camerawork is diegetic–and that is super cool. It really adds a weird layer of realism. But… there are some buts. Narrative-wise, it feels very Blumhouse, very much a beat-for-beat modern B-movie slasher. And other than Keery, much of the acting is very cheesy in its third-act-attempt to “hold a mirror up to society.” Which… I mean it’s not wrong, but it doesn’t leave too much of an impression by the time it’s over.

Our Grade: C, I think a lot of the acting and flopped jokes really do it in for me, though some people seemed to enjoy the kills and the gore, which is fine. Everything on the technical side was really well done, a lot of the setups had good intensity, and it wasn’t not at least a little bit entertaining. While it’s a little more style over substance, I think many nonetheless might enjoy themselves at this cool-looking (if not innovative) ride.

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