If Mickey & Mallory were streamers, then WTF!
“Spree” is the probably the first movie I’ve seen to be told from the point-of-view of phones and cameras since “Searching.” When these kinds of entries are presented like this, you really must admire how the editing convinces us they’re online and streaming to their hearts content. For this movie, give it up to editor Benjamin Moses Smith and cinematographer Jeff Leeds Cohn.
This time, “Spree,” co-written and directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko, is a dark comedy that involves a would-be social media legend, who intends to get infinite viewers by killing people, driving through stop lights, driving on the wrong side of the highway, and just acting like a nut. I’m recommending this movie for some of the wrong reasons, but hey, you might never see something like this again. Maybe you will, but only time will tell.
Joe Kerry (Steve Harrington on “Stranger Things”) stars as Kurt Kunkle, the host and star of his internet show “Kurt’s World.” He operates as a timeshare driver, who has cameras in his car to livestream anything that comes up. In the meantime, he films himself poisoning his complementary water bottles for the assholes he picks up.
His only follower and streamer BobbyBaseCamp (Joshua Ovalle) tells him to kick it up a notch: “Get some WTF moments or GTFO.” And his fame gets threatened by rising comedian Jessie Adams (SNL’s Sasheer Zamata), whom he gives a ride earlier.
So, he decides to go Charles Manson on his next passengers-good or bad. For instance, he drivers some adventure seekers to a junkyard, and tricks two of them into going through his car’s roof window, so he can trap them and allow two vicious dogs to maul them. And he makes his way into Bobby’s home to kill him, while he’s streaming.
Question: if Kurt streams himself murdering people, then what about the police? What’s he supposed to do if someone reports this to the police? Has he considered that? Maybe he would like to change his name to Mickey Knox. I mean Woody Harrelson’s “Natural Born Killers” character, not the actor, for the record. You know: the leaving one victim alive to tell the tale, which in this case, are his cameras.
“Spree” does lag with some strip clubs, his connection with his deadbeat dad (David Arquette), and its obligatory tech music, so I can’t exactly call it a masterpiece. But on a positive note, it does give Joe Kerry a chance to expand his horizons. The worst thing Chris Pine has done in the movies, bar none, was when he smashed his face on a desk and acted like a psycho in “Horrible Bosses 2.” But Kerry plays it just right here, because he’s charming, versatile, and never sells himself short.
And Sasheer Zamata rounds up the cast swiftly and energetically as the only person willing to expose his crimes during the third act. And in the first and second acts, we see her dealing with inequality. For instance, she deals with an arrogant streamer (John DeLuca), who demands her to smile during his latest video.
Does it go far with the violence? Probably so. But the movie does it with style and potential. Either you’re gonna say LOL, WTF, GTFO, or IoH. It all depends on how you view the movie. See for yourself.
Available on Various Streaming Services