SPREE (2020) Reviews and overview

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Spree is a 2020 American dark comedy thriller about a young man that goes on a car-based live-streamed rampage to gain internet infamy.

Directed By Eugene Kotlyarenko from a screenplay co-written with Gene McHugh, the Forest Hill Entertainment production stars Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, Mischa Barton, John DeLuca, Josh Ovalle, Lala Kent, Frankie Grande with Kyle Mooney and David Arquette.

Meet Kurt (Joe Keery), a 23-year-old rideshare driver for Spree, who is so desperate for social media attention that he’ll stop at nothing to go viral. He comes up with a plan to live stream a rampage as a shortcut to infamy – coining his evil scheme “#thelesson”, he installs a set of cameras in his car and begins streaming his rides.

Wildly miscalculating the popularity that would come from his lethal scheme, Kurt’s desperation grows as he tries to find a way to overcome the plan’s flaws. In the middle of all this madness, a stand-up comedian (Sasheer Zamata) with her own viral agenda crosses Kurt’s path and becomes the only hope to put a stop to his misguided carnage…

Spree was shown at the Sundance festival in January 2020. The movie was released theatrically, On Demand and Digital on August 14, 2020, by RLJE Films.

Spree will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 20th 2020 by RLJE Films. Special features:

Audio commentary by writer/director Eugene Kotlyarenko
KurtsWorld96 social media videos

” …the victims are played as one-note, with only Jessie having any depth or character arc. Then again, in an age in which influencers have reduced their online personalities down to what they can squeeze into a character-restricted profile, then act out that profile constantly, what’s too broad? It does, however, allow Keery a little more breathing room for Kurt, who spouts vagueries about his home-spun philosophy which he calls “The Lesson.” Its nothingness defines it…” Austin Chronicle

” …Spree is a comedy–often a very funny one–but it’s a damn sight darker than most self-consciously “dark” comedies because it never fully lets go of the slick, artificially positive tone of the influencer world in which Kurt is trying to succeed. Where Spree falters is when it steers too smugly into social commentary.” Battleship Pretension

Spree is always captivating to watch, yet I can’t help feeling some of its dramatic potential was left untapped. Kotlyarenko’s script can read as sanctimonious at times, spelling out its intended message with third act speeches that have the characters turn into ciphers for the screenwriter […] Spree’s abrasive style offers a darkly alluring condemnation of influencer culture driven by a career-best performance from Joe Keery.” BRWC

“While the movie’s tone is satiric, it’s also shallow; Kurt doesn’t have enough substance to be chilling. It’s also funny, but not funny enough to stand on its own as a straightforward comedy. Still, it’s darkly entertaining, and Sasheer Zamata shines as a stand-up comedian whose audience Kurt wants to steal.” Crooked Marquee

“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.” Film Snob Reviews

“Director Eugene Kotlyarenko’s approach will no doubt prove to be controversial as the movie is essentially a black comedy, with many of the kills taking on near-slapstick dimensions, although the gore level makes it clear this is an exploitation flick, albeit a well-made, relatively smart one…” JoBlo

“Zameer delivers the right amount of comedy in a few spots that, had the movie matched her efforts, might have helped its appeal. While the attempt at commentary on the larger culture does not go unnoticed, as one of Kurt’s followers says to him of his attempts to go viral, it’s “boring and awkward.” Same goes for Spree.” MaddWolf

“The damn thing turns into Grand Theft Auto and after the fourth kill, his star count is still on 1! By the time the police encounter Kurt for the third time, you don’t feel any sort of tension because by that point you know they’re not going to do anything no matter how guilty, let alone suspicious, Kurt looks. A friggin’ video game has more urgency regarding escaping the law than the thriller feature that is Spree. ” Rendy Reviews

“Kotlyarenko’s full-fledged commentary slingshots viewers into the cringiest but most revealing parts of the internet—all the waves of crude comments in the live streams, the Pepe jokes, the audience’s insatiable need for shocking entertainment. Kurt’s mayhem is incredibly funny and entertaining because it’s so smart in critiquing what content is truly out there…” RogerEbert.com

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