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SPREE gets 8/10 Deadly ride


Directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko
Starring Joe Kerry, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette, Mischa Barton

8/10

Social media truly can be deadly. The fake online world and the murderous real-life world come together in Spree, a comedy-horror shot like it’s for the internet age (a la Unfriended, Searching), making this one of the most prescient films made about the internet culture we are deeply embedded in today.

The young Kurt (Stranger Things’ Joe Kerry) is aspiring to be a huge internet sensation, but his videos across all social media platforms aren’t generating enough views. So he decides to become a driver for the ride-sharing app Spree, where he live streams all his passengers…as he kills them.

It’s the ultimate move for this millennial sociopath, but perhaps his passengers are worth killing – he gets himself a white supremacist as his first victim, then an overly-cocky alpha male as his second. The third passenger, a rather bitchy and rather unfunny comedian Jessie (Sasheer Zamata) doesn’t seem to quite deserve death, but she becomes the attention of Kurt, as he tries to emulate her online success.

Although it may have the usual proclamation about social media (“it’s bad, get off it, live your own life”), it’s more in the way that Spree conveys this theme, how it satisfyingly brings all its stories and characters together in the end without feeling too contrived. It doesn’t really feel like it’s trying to be a lesson kind of film, but rather a fun one (mostly deranged fun) with how it shows this exaggerated and bloody side of internet culture. It uses the genre of comedy to comment on the horrors of social media and the narcissistic attention-seeking generation it has spawned.

Spree has an enjoyable premise, though it doesn’t build on it too much and keeps events confined to just one day. But there are moments (such as the beginning and ending montages that show Kurt’s life) that powerfully show how one disturbed individual can relate to social media in a disturbed society. With a terrific and committed central performance, plus plenty of great gags and jokes that reference our current internet culture, Spree is a fun, bloody movie, but its entertainment value doesn’t negate the sad underlining empathy it has for this generation poisoned by the screens that surround us.

Spree is available on Foxtel and Fetch til Nov 11, and will then be available as VOD on iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play from Nov 25.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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