The home release of “Holy Spider” ensnares with rich bonus features.

If, in the year 2022, you didn’t see Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider, then you simply missed one of the best movies to come out of that year. However, it is with fair warning that this movie is an incredibly tough watch, but one that will sit and linger with you for months after viewing. I first saw Holy Spider in November of 2022 and it is now August 2023, and I still think about how impactful this movie was, not only from a direction and storytelling aspect, but a performance aspect as well. It has that rare effect of creating such a space that simply cannot be escaped. Holy Spider, while inherently a different movie, is absolutely the foreign contemporary to impact and sheer tension of Zodiac (2007) and Prisoners (2013).

The story focuses on a journalist, Arezoo Rahimi (played masterfully by Zar Amir Ebrahimi) as she finds herself in the city of Mashhad investigating the works of a serial killer. The serial killer goes by the name of the “Spider Killer” and he is targeting and brutally killing sex workers, claiming that he is doing the Lord’s work and “cleaning the streets of sinners.” While she tries to uncover who the killer is, Arezoo has to, of course, overcome obstacles just by being a female journalist investigating these heinous acts, an already uphill battle due to the culture. Moreover, she is continuously putting herself in harm’s way as she has to disguise herself as a sex worker to try and find the “Spider Killer,” and, if she does succeed, she must do everything in her power to protect herself so he doesn’t kill her, and then prove her case and ensure that he does end up getting sentenced.


Zar Amir Ebrahimi as Rahimi in HOLY SPIDER. Photo courtesy of Utopia Distribution.

What starts off a nail-biting thriller ends up being so much more thanks to the brilliant performance by Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Shayda), the direction and writing by Ali Abbasi (Border), co-writing by Afshin Kamran Baharmi, and story supervision by Jonas Wagner, leaving you utterly speechless by the time the credits roll and forcing you to sit with and think about this movie almost in perpetuity until the end of time. It truly is rare for a film, especially one of this magnitude, to sit and stew with an audience this long after an initial viewing, especially when that second viewing at home feels like a scolding shower, something you need to have to rinse yourself of the debris left on your skin, but it burns. It hurts. It’s something that cannot be escaped. That’s how Holy Spider hits, and a revisit hits that much harder, its ever lasting impact is simply undeniable and will force you to sit with your thoughts as to what you just witnessed and to be left in a state of complete shock by the powers on and off screen that brought this story to life, as well as the story itself.

With the great people over at Utopia releasing Holy Spider for home viewing, the extras may not be the most enticing as some of them are surely available elsewhere, but it is the plethora of interviews and Q&As that are included that makes this viewing experience almost feel like a film festival at home with the eight total combined features truly answering nearly any question one could have and provide further insight into anything going in in the film. While the features are certainly vast in quantity but not category, just being able to own a beautiful transfer of one the most mesmerizing and transfixing movies of 2022 at home is a marvel within itself. For anyone who is a fan of true crime or anything of the like, Holy Spider will give you that thrill you seek while fully engrossing you in a world of terror and unease as we watch Arezoo Rahimi track down, and hopefully find, the Spider Killer.

Holy Spider Special Features:

  • Q&A with Ali Abbasi, moderated by Ana Lily Amirpour
  • Q&A with moderator Reza Safai at Laemmle Town Center
  • Q&A at IFC Center with Ali Abbasi
  • Interview with Director Ali Abbasi
  • Interview with Producer Jacob Jarek
  • Interview with Actor Mehdi Bajestani
  • Interview with Producer Sol Bondy
  • Interview with Actor Zar Amir-Ebrahimi
  • In Persian with English Subtitles

Available on Blu-ray and DVD August 15th, 2023.

For more information, head to the official Holy Spider website.

To purchase, head to MVD Entertainment Group’s Holy Spider webpage.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Holy Spider HV cover

Categories: Films To Watch, Home Release, Home Video, Recommendation, Reviews

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