Would you get in an Uber with Joe Keery? Yeah, of course you would, you rascal. But here’s the thing! Joe Keery, or that driver with the horrific taste in music, or that driver who always misses your exit; they could all be murderers! You just never know who’s gonna do some murdering. And that is pretty much the setup for the new horror satire Spree, which stars the Stranger Things scene-stealer as Kurt, a rideshare driver desperate for social media fame and willing to do anything to get folks to smash that subscribe button. And by anything, I of course mean murder. Kurt devises a plan to kill a bunch of his rides on a livestream to get the followers he so desperately craves and Spree is a ScreenLife approach (a la Unfriended and Searching) that puts you in the position of a viewer watching the livestream unfold.
Spree debuted at Sundance earlier this year, where it earned a round of solid reviews (including one here at Collider) as a horror satire that riffs on our unquenchable thirst for internet attention and how the need to be seen perverts our relationships with the real-life people around us. Or, as filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko said in his director’s statement, “With Spree, I pushed my observations on the increasingly dehumanizing nature of our attention economy to its horrific, logical extreme while visually integrating apps, texting, comments and our myriad of screens and streams to expand cinematic storytelling.”
Between Spree and The Rental, apps are the new slasher in 2020 and that makes a lot of sense. The internet is consistently terrifying (arguably the reigning GOAT of shit-your-pants scary, even in a pandemic era) What’s curious to me is how these films focus more on the bad-actors and terrifying individuals who could be on the other end of the app rather than how the apps themselves are wielding inordinate, genuinely terrifying and largely unregulated control over our economy, politics, and public discourse. But I guess a corporation wouldn’t make for a very cinematic slasher villain. You know who does? Keery, who’s a damned delight on Stranger Things and looks like he’s giving quite the unsettling performance here.
Spree also stars Sasheer Zamata, Mischa Barton, John DeLuca, Josh Ovalle, Lala Kent, Frankie Grande with Kyle Mooney and David Arquette. Watch the trailer below, and if you want to see Keery really commit to the bit, head over to the @KurtsWorld76 Instagram account.
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 livestream 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.