If you’re like me and have a new celebrity crush every week, you know how fun it is to find a new obsession. I realized that you never know where you are going to discover your next one from- sometimes they can stem from another when you least expect it. One of my obsessions led me to another, and I fell down a wormhole of cast interviews and Twitter fanpages. The film in question, Eugene Kotlyarenko’s Spree, is one of the most unique horror films I have witnessed. After watching this film, I immediately found myself stalking Joe Keery’s IMDb page to watch the rest of his filmography and ingest all of the content possible with him in it.
Joe Keery, of “Stranger Things” fame, stars as Kurt Kunkle, a desperate influencer who will stop at nothing for fame. His entire life revolves around creating content, and when he fails to create a following for himself, he establishes a disturbing plan to go viral called #TheLesson. He livestreams his job as a ride-share driver in hopes to grow his audience, and goes to drastic measures to get views. His murder rampage however fails to gain Kurt the attention he so badly desires, so he picks up a comedian named Jessie who built her brand through self-promotion on social media. Kurt is jealous of her fame and becomes obsessed with her, trying to gain from her own success. The film is a satire for today’s internet age and how kids these days are obsessed with internet fame, likes, and instant gratification.
The interesting part about this film is that it is made to look like an Instagram livestream, complete with comments from viewers that seem incredibly real. I also watched the director’s commentary and learned that certain scenes were actually filmed with GoPros or iPhones to make the vision look more realistic. The screen sometimes splits in two or three, and shows Kurt’s phone screen as he opens other apps like Google, Soundcloud, and TikTok. I really enjoyed this aspect because it is unlike most films I have seen before. It was also great because I learned that Joe Keery is adorable from any angle.
I also found the promotion of this movie very unique and interesting. Instagram and TikTok accounts were made under the name “kurtsworld96,” which is Kurt’s social media handle in the film. Joe Keery ran these accounts and posted funny videos to promote the movie, such as one of him shopping in Kohl's and buying a Steve Harrington shirt- a nod to his role on “Stranger Things.” They also sold Kurt’s World hats, and I wish I knew before it was too late to get one.
Before I watched Spree, I knew nothing about it. I had heard about it in a Mischa Barton interview, an actress from a show I love called “The O.C.”. I knew she was in it, but not how long she was in it for. After doing research on Twitter, I learned she only had about five minutes of screen time, but found myself renting the movie anyway. I went into this film blindly without even watching the trailer first. I don’t know if that was a good or bad decision because now I am in love with Joe Keery. I should not have been rooting for his character but he just has this puppy-dog-like persona that blinded me from the evil character he was playing. I liked Joe Keery so much that after watching Spree (and a few of his other films), I submitted myself to be an extra in “Stranger Things.”
I would definitely recommend Spree to anyone. It is a comedic horror film that is not too extreme, and is one of the most interestingly made horror films I have probably ever seen. I wish I could go back and watch it for the first time all over again. And I definitely wish Joe Keery was my Uber driver.