(director/writer: Eugene Kotlyarenko; screenwriter: Gene McHugh; cinematographer: Jeff Leeds Cohn; editor: Benjamin Moses Smith; music: James Ferraro; cast: Joe Keery (Kurt Kunkle), Sasheer Zamata (Jessie Adams), David Arquette (Kris Kunkle), Kyle Mooney (Miles Manderville), Mischa Barton (London), Josh Ovalle (Bobby); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Matthew Budman, Sumaiya Kaveh, John Lang, Eugene Kotlyarenko; RLJE Films; 2020)

A baseless thriller critiquing the social-media craze for being an addiction.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A baseless thriller critiquing the social-media craze as an addiction. It’s written and directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko (“Wobble Palace”/”A wonderful Cloud”) as an attempt to get cheap laughs from its sicko slasher comic antics. It’s co-written by Gene McHugh and the director, who tell the grim story of a ride-share driver driven so mad by the lack of hits on his Instagram to go on a murder spree (a dumb plot that doesn’t pass the giggle test).

The irritating and shallow young ride-share driver for a Lyft-like service called Spree, with only a few followers on his social-media site, Kurt Kunkle (Joe Kerry, of “Stranger Things” fame), goes off on a goofy self-promoting rampage for video chat group followers he can’t lure to his site for the last ten years. For this media blitz, Kurt brings on board his
volatile drug-addled DJ Dad (David Arquette) and his nemesis Bobby (Josh Ovalle), someone Kurt used to babysit and is now a person of great influence and popularity on the social-media site who refuses to recognize his former baby sitter.

Kurt is the psychopath who seeks to gain fame
(and thereby more hits on his site) by killing his most repulsive passengers — a white supremacist and a chauvinist— and to do it on live-streams.

Spree reaches the bottom of the barrel in the recent spate of social media films, as it goes after the vain people who crave “likes.” It’s a depraved film that’s neither entertaining or valuable as a critique of social media.

      - Sundance - NEXT - Publicity - H 2020

REVIEWED ON 8/23/2020  GRADE: C-