‘Holy Spider’ is an unconventional thriller based on the true story of the Iranian serial murderer known as the ‘Spider Killer'. Award-winning director Ali Abbasi convincingly combines an exciting drama with insight into Iranian society and the degradedposition of women therein. Journalist Rahimi (Zar Amir Ebrahimi) arrives in Mashhad, Iran's holiest city. She is there to investigate the murders of numerous prostitutes, who are seen as sinfully beyond redemption by Iranian society in general. While the killer claims new victims, Rahimi takes increasing risks to discover his identity. She finds that religious beliefs, a lack of emancipation, and a violent past can create a monster—and only Rahimi can see the truth. Ebrahimi makes Rahimi a heroine for our times and was awarded the Best Actress prize at Cannes for her efforts.
‘A taut, true-crime procedural tangled in the wicked web of Iranian patriarchy… The great terror (and later, great admiration) the “Spider Killer” inspired did not come from the man, but from a comprehensive environment of female oppression, which is smartly outlined in a few well-judged scenes that exist outside the architecture of the cat-and-mouse thriller…’—Jessica Kiang, Variety