Is Spree Based on a True Story: Spree, an American satirical horror thriller film, directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko, showcases a talented ensemble cast including Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, Mischa Barton, and John DeLuca. The film made its debut on January 24th, 2020, at the esteemed 2020 Sundance Film Festival. It was followed by its theatrical release in the USA on August 14th, 2020, through RLJE Films. The gripping narrative revolves around the character of Kurt Kunkle, brilliantly portrayed by Joe Keery.
Kurt, an aspiring influencer hungry for fame, stops at nothing to capture attention. In his quest for recognition, he embarks on a new endeavor as a driver for the rideshare app named Spree. Outfitting his vehicle with cameras, Kurt launches a riveting livestream series called “The Lesson.” In it he imparts advice to viewers on how to attain social media stardom. However, the story takes a dark turn as Kurt begins to pick up passengers and lethally poisons them with bottled water. Although “Spree” is not based on a true story, it draws inspiration from real-life incidents involving an Uber driver. It was envisioned by the collaborative efforts of Eugene Kotlyarenko and Gene McHugh.
During the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Kotlyarenko disclosed that the idea for the film originated from a suggestion by co-writer McHugh. McHugh proposed utilizing the distressing events as a basis for a movie. While the exact true case that influenced “Spree” remains undisclosed by Kotlyarenko, speculations point towards the infamous incident involving Jason Dalton, a Michigan Uber driver. Dalton went on a shooting spree on February 20th, 2016, in Kalamazoo, resulting in the tragic deaths of six individuals. In 2019, he pleaded guilty to all charges and received a life imprisonment sentence.
Portraying Kurt Kunkle, Joe Keery dedicated himself to thorough research on Uber drivers and social media influencers to bring authenticity to his performance. Guided by Kotlyarenko, Keery delved into compilation videos of influencers and drew comparisons to real-life experiences. He highlighted the significance of observing individuals with minimal viewership, those who shared similarities with Kurt as they endeavored to gain traction in the competitive online landscape.
While “Spree” may not be based on factual events, the collaborative efforts of Keery and Kotlyarenko ensured a captivating and genuine portrayal of the character. Hence, viewers can rest assured that Kurt Kunkle does not exist in reality, awaiting their rideshare requests.
Given the fictional nature of the film, the demise of any character within “Spree” should not cause concern. In the movie, Kurt Kunkle meets his end at the hands of Jessie Adams. Kurt fatally shoots his father and attempts to harm Jessie. But she bravely subdues him by pinning him against a wall with her car, ultimately beating him to death. Shockingly, she captures a selfie with Kurt’s lifeless body. She subsequently shared it on her Instagram account, leading to her nationwide fame.
Beyond its thrilling storyline, “Spree” carries a powerful message for its viewers. Kurt unwittingly presents “The Lesson” in a captivating manner. It lured many into believing they can replicate his path to internet stardom. However, the film exposes the inherent dangers of the online world when it falls into the wrong hands, unexpectedly enlightening audiences about the potential risks.
In summary, “Spree” succeeds in providing an engaging and thought-provoking cinematic experience. It serves as a stark reminder of the dark side of social media. It also highlights the potential risks associated with the unbridled quest for recognition. As viewers, we are encouraged to reflect upon our own relationship with the digital world and the importance of responsible online behavior.