Review: Spree (2020)

I was going to say that Spree was Jake Paul’s contingency plan for when his numbers start to slip. But then the FBI raided his house and seized a cache of weapons. So that would be in bad taste, and I won’t. Even though it’s probably true.

Kurt Kunkle (Joe Keery, Stranger Things, How To Be Alone) wants to be a social media influencer. However, his channel hasn’t attracted much of an audience, so he’s a driver for an Uber-like rideshare company, Spree. But he has a plan to change all that. #TheLesson. Decking his car out in GoPros, in the name of passenger safety no less, he’s going to go viral by killing his passengers.

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Director Eugene Kotlyarenko (Wobble Palace, 0s & 1s) and co-writer Gene McHugh have crafted a film that skewers social media fame. And does it while flipping off the gig economy. Spree takes the cringy, anti-social aspects of YouTube and cranks them up to eleven. Kurt tries poisoning his passengers, but that doesn’t go over. The audience wants blood, and if the audience wants blood, he’ll give it to them. Even if they don’t believe it’s real until it’s too late.

Much of Spree is shot in various forms of split-screen. We see what’s happening and how it looks livestreamed on somebody’s phone. It’s a bit jarring at times, but it’s also effective. Seeing Kurt kill off three other influencers in the middle of their own livestreams points up how incestuous the whole YouTube/Instagram/TikTok world is. Having them played by Frankie Grande (brother of Ariana Grande), Lala Kent (Vanderpump Rules, Out of Death) and Mischa Barton (The Basement, The Toybox) is just icing on the cake.

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We also get two other looks at the drive to be famous via Kurt’s DJ father (David Arquette, Bone Tomahawk, Mope) and comedian Jessie Adams (Sasheer Zamata, Saturday Night Live). Kurt’s pursuit of approval, and a tag, from Jesse, set up the film’s final act. An act that sees Spree make a move towards becoming a Millennial Taxi Driver.

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And, as much as I liked a lot of things about Spree, it’s the Millennial and Gen Z audience that should relate the most to the film. It was made by and for them and set in their world.

RLJE Films will release Spree in theatres, on Digital and On Demand on August 14th

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