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  • Writer's pictureK/XI


I didn't realise this was based on true events until I paused half way through to take a deep breath. Holy Spider tells the story of a journalist who goes to investigate the murders of several sex workers by the "Spider Killer", a man who believes he is cleansing the streets of Iran and doing God's work. As you can guess from the synopsis, this film is fucking heavy and so loaded.

Jesus Christ. I had to take a shower to wash this film out of my hair after watching it. I can only talk about my own experiences of Pakistan and being brought up in a Muslim household, but this film really does just highlight the importance of making films like this (in fact the Iranian government had told people in Iran that if they were found to be involved with the film, they would be punished). Holy Spider is not only an important film but also a very dangerous one. A lot of the opinions expressed by male characters are actually held by many people from those parts of the world, and it is downright fucking terrifying to be a woman surrounded by that day and night. Part of me wants this film to be shown everywhere, but also accompanies by lectures on why the events portrayed in the film are NOT OKAY.

The film is brilliantly acted, it's cinematic, and the score by Danish composer Martin Dirkov is filled with absolute dread, in a way that I last felt with Nocturnal Animals. Holy Spider directed by Ali Abbasi is a difficult watch, and it certainly made me want to just set the world on fire, because it seems so challenging at times knowing that there is so much threat and danger out there for women. The film highlights misogyny and Islamic extremism - I was of course reminded of problematic opinions held by my own family members. Holy Spider is an intense thriller, and honestly I have not seen something like this in a really long while. Forget David Fincher's latest film, and watch this instead.


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