It's not for lack of trying. One of the best parts of Keery's performance is the way he plays the strange combination of naive earnestness and calculated cynicism that drives a person like Kurt to act in such a desperate manner, begging for followers and turning every awkward interaction into an opportunity to hawk his cringe-inducing brand. Even though he's filled with feelings of self-loathing and inadequacy, he knows he needs to present a slick, peppy version of confidence to his non-existent fans. That's what leads him to create his latest quasi-inspirational scam called "#TheLesson," which mostly consists of picking up passengers in his car, drugging them, and eventually killing them.
While Spree sounds unrelentingly bleak, Kotlyarenko and Kerry keep up a frantic comedic tone for the film's brisk runtime. Like the (excellent!) Unfriended movies and 2018's Sundance hit Searching, Spree unfolds in found footage style, telling most of its story entirely through cameras installed in Kurt's car and through the ever-watchful lens of a cell phone. Comments from Kurt's viewers pop up on screen, cheering on his exploits and accusing him of "faking" some of the more graphic acts. These are the small details that make a movie like this work.
Early on, Kurt's stunt intersects with Sasheer Zamata's Jessie Adams, a comedian with a real following and a burgeoning career. He doesn't kill her and instead becomes obsessed with using her fame to boost his numbers. The movie has a keen understanding of how brand-building leads to parasitic social relationships, like when a more internet-famous teenager Kurt used to babysit tells him "don't double dip off my stream." Even Kurt's dad, an aspiring DJ with anger issues played by David Arquette, is looking to exploit him and make a quick buck.
Depending on where you spend your time online, Spree will either play like a daring recreation of archetypes documented in the media or a cartoon version of day-to-day life. Words like "incel" and "libtard" get thrown around, and one of Kurt's first passengers is a proud white supremacist, but the movie's big idea isn't that different from other online movies of the past decade like The Social Network or Ingrid Goes West. Basically, it's an argument for logging off. But, like the best influencers, Keery makes it impossible to look away.