Kurt Kunkle (Joe Keery) is a Spree driver (basically an Uber driver for those who live in Australia). Kurt has desires to become a famous influencer when it comes to social media and over the last ten years has been trying to grow his number of followers. But unfortunately for Kurt and his username, @kurtsworld96, Kurt cannot seem to earn any big followers or viewers whenever he streams live. Kurt is sick of streaming to less than ten people at a time when his best friends around him are way more successful as influencers. Unlike Kurt, his friends have more followers and no issues at maintaining viewers on live streams. On April 12th, 2019 Kurt finally went viral.
Finally, having had enough and sick of failing with his online presence, Kurt decides to take his live streams to a whole new level while working for Spree. Introducing what Kurt calls #thelesson, he installs several wireless cameras in his car, giving his current followers a whole new show. Kurt begins to pick up passengers and these people have no idea that they are about to become a victim. He has placed spiked water bottles in the car, putting his customers straight to sleep within a matter of seconds. Along with live streaming to the world, he begins to murder each person he interacts with, all for the viewers to see with nothing hidden. Kurt has truly lost his mind to gain a following online. But will followers of @kurtsworld96 believe that what he is doing is for real? And most importantly, will Kurt get caught with his new and sick methods?
The editing and pacing of this film are wonderful, and I am somewhat reminded of another film which was also positive when it came to the use of technology and putting it on the big screen. Naturally, I am talking about the film ‘Searching’ which featured back in 2018. As a film, Spree feels quite relevant and will be relatable to many people who use social media daily, including myself. Spree is well made to show plenty of videos and split screens, all showing what Kurt is filming when it comes to committing murders or even just him driving around dangerously. As the viewers we also witness minor and critical details such as the comments coming in from Kurt’s followers as they continue to question if what they are viewing is real. Sometimes his viewers just post rude comments about Kurt as an individual. All of these small details are quite acceptable given the plot. Spree also has several things happening at once and because of this, it never bored me as a film. The film’s pacing is quick and fast, rarely slowing down and I enjoyed how this film’s concept feels like something we are yet to see before.
Actor Joe Keery as Kurt was also great when it comes to performances. You can feel his character change and grow into a bigger monster as the film progresses. I also enjoyed that the film was kind enough to provide more of Kurt’s past, along with footage of him making the discovery of social media and how @kurtsworld96 came to life, all within the film’s opening. The film’s music score was also pleasing and sometimes unsettling which also fitted Kurt’s quirky personality.
Many elements feel real here, particularly when it comes to people and how they use social media in the present day. There are some elements within the film though which will require ignorance from the audience, and many watching the film will not be able to choose to ignore these details. One major example is the thought that a young man doing such horrible crimes could get away with it without the attention of the police. It is an extremely unlikely result, but after all this is just a film. Kurt’s victims are also generally rude or silly people, making it feel like the film was trying to justify why Kurt was murdering them. This also takes away the element of suspense. Any good people in this film have predictable outcomes, including what their roles in this film will ultimately be. This film is best enjoyed if viewers can ignore such elements and not let them irritate them.
Overall, Spree is certainly a fresh film which has lots happening on-screen during every second. Witnessing a man who gets so desperate for social media followers and is willing to murder people, streaming it live is a fresh concept in film. Sadly, it all feels possibly real in the present day. Movie lovers will be quite impressed by this unsettling concept. The lead performance by Joe Kerry was great to see as he grows into a crazy serial killer. The film’s editing and pacing is incredible, and the film is most certainly never dull. Those watching the film will find faults when it comes to realism. If you can ignore some of these elements though, the film can easily be enjoyed by many.
Spree (2020) is Available on DVD!