FILM RELEASE CRITIC
A dark cultural satire about a rideshare driver so desperate for social media attention that he’ll stop at nothing to go viral. 23-year-old Kurt Kunkle plans 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. Kurt picks up passengers, only to dispense with them for the pleasure of his viewers… oh wait, he doesn’t have any! Wildly miscalculating the automatic popularity that would come from his lethal scheme, Kurt must quickly find a way to overcome the plans flaws, so he can make his horrific non-event into a viral sensation.
In the middle of all this madness, a stand-up comedian Sasheer Zamata (Jessie Adams)with her own viral agenda crosses Kurt’s path and becomes our only hope to put a stop to his misguided carnage.
Director Eugene Kotlyarenko states that Spree is a movie I’ve been yearning to share with the world for a long time. As a satire of an influencer culture gone mad and the numbing violence that characterizes modern day America, I hope it can offer a new window of critique into some of our society’s most frightening maladies.
Social media has warped not only our sense of identity and morality, but our value systems and has all sorts of ramifications that film has yet to fully process. Attention at any cost seems to be the name of the game, and cinema has the perfect tools to explore that. Since my first feature, I have tried to grapple with this massive shift in consciousness, on formal and narrative levels. With Spree, I pushed my observations on the increasingly dehumanizing nature of our attention economy to its horrific, logical extreme, while also visually integrating apps, texting, comments and our myriad of screens and streams to try to expand cinematic storytelling.
Kotlyarenko continues to say as we journeyed down the path writing, shooting and editing this story of a disturbed white male using violence as a shortcut to fame, the deluge of real-world echoes to what we’d been creating in artifice, lent an increasing sense of urgency to our mission. From the beginning my co-writer, Gene McHugh, and I realized our best shot at wrestling with the horrific trajectory of these disturbing cultural trends was through satirical analysis and biting critique. We wanted to create a world that was as absurd as the landscape around us, yet still frighteningly real. We also knew it was important to work against the fetishistic history of how these murderers are often framed in popular culture.
Joe Keery has quickly established himself as a highly sought-after young actor in film and television. He recently wrapped production on 20th Century Fox action/adventure comedy Free Guyopposite Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer and Lil Rel.
For me, I found this too much and not my appeal to sit through but I sure there is an audience that will log in to this drive spree.