Holy Spider

Ali Abassi’s sophomore feature is a terrifying retelling of the case of the Spider Killer, a serial killer hunting down sex workers in Iran.

Mashhad, early 2000s. Despite being the country’s holy city, its residents are ill at ease. A serial killer is on the prowl, targeting sex workers and reporting their crimes – as well as the location of his victims’ bodies, wrapped in rugs – to a local newspaper. When no-nonsense journalist Rahimi is transferred to the paper following a misogyny-related scandal at her last workplace, she immediately immerses herself into the city’s underbelly. Journeying deeper into the case, humanising the murdered women and attempting to navigate the city’s complex judicial system, Rahimi discovers that some don’t believe the Spider Killer’s actions to be crimes…

With blistering intent, Abbasi (Border) reconfigures the tropes of the serial-killer genre, creating a film that not only grapples with the attempt to bring a criminal to justice but examines what really stands for ‘justice’ in this world.

Contains scenes of graphic violence


Full English

117 minutes

Country of origin:
Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden

Year of production: