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Criticism of ‘Holy Spider’, blunt horror

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The real case of a murderer who, in 2001, killed 16 prostitutes in Mashhad inspired Ali Abbasi to make a problematic film.

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    ‘Holy Spider’ is not an easy film to approach. Even the viewer who defends it can assume its problematic nature. The reasons that make it interesting for some are those that generate rejection by others. Ali Abbasi (‘Border’) It is inspired by the real case of a murderer who in 2001 killed 16 prostitutes in the Iranian city of Mashhad, considering them impure.. The trial caused a stir because of the horrific nature of the crimes and because part of Iranian society treated the murderer like a hero.

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    Abbasi is committed to recreating the most atrocious reality (suffocated by machismo, misogyny and violence against women) with genre film codes, moving away from the social or testimonial that, due to its setting, seemed to ask for the story. It is a risky decision, since the playful mechanisms of the thriller can be seen as a way of trivializing the case. However, even assuming that ‘Holy Spider’ falls into the lurid at times (as in the epilogue), this commitment to generic codes can also be seen in the opposite way: as a direct and forceful way of exploring horror and remind us that unfortunately it is real.

    For fans of thrillers that explore horror without beating around the bush

    The best: his forcefulness and the interpretation of Zar Amir-Ebrahimi.

    The worst: the epilogue.


    Direction: Ali Abbasi Distribution: Tsar Amir-Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad Country: Denmark Year: 2022 Release date: 13–01-2023 Gender: thriller Script: Ali Abbasi, Afshin Kamran Bahrami Duration: 117 min.

    Synopsis: Iran, 2001. A journalist from Tehran plunges into the most disreputable neighborhoods of the holy city of Mashhad to investigate a series of femicides. She will soon realize that the local authorities are in no hurry to resolve the matter. The crimes are the work of a single man, who claims to purify the city of his sins and who attacks prostitutes at night.

    Source: Fotogramas

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