Holy Spider Trailer: Iranian Serial Killer Slaughters Sex Workers

Director Ali Abbasi captures the true crime story in the official Danish Oscar entry for Best International Feature Film.

Holy Spider


Inspired by a chilling true story, Holy Spider unravels the web of a serial killer in Iran.

Cannes Best Actress winner, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, plays a journalist who travels to the holy city of Mashhad in Iran to investigate a serial killer who believes he is doing the work of God and cleansing the streets of sinners by he murdered sex workers. According to an official synopsis, as the body count mounts and Rahimi moves closer to exposing his crimes, the opportunity for justice becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as the “Spider Killer” (Mehdi Bajestani) is hailed by many as a hero. But the killer’s religious quest to “cleanse” Mashhad of “immoral and corrupt” street prostitutes is turning into a desperate attempt to rouse public interest in his divine mission.

Holy Spider is based on the horrifying true story of serial killer Saeed Hanaei, who was captured in 2001 after murdering 16 women. Acclaimed writer/director Ali Abbasi (“Border”) unveils a gripping crime thriller and a daring indictment of a society where harsh justice is commonplace. Abbasi won the Best Director Award at Fantastic Fest 2022. Holy Spider is the official Danish entry for the 95th Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category.

Abbasi co-wrote the film with Afshin Kamran Bahrami; Utopia takes care of the distribution of the feature. Director Abbasi told IndieWire he was “terrified of the consequences” of the film’s release for actor Bajestani, who plays the war veteran-turned-Spider Killer. “He’s taking a crazy risk. If this were an American thriller, it would be panned or acclaimed, sold or unsold, but it’s not like the actor is in any danger of going to jail,” Abbasi said. Abbasi compared the role to that of Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

“You see, many people in Iran have had access to western media and cable television since the early 2000s,” Abbasi continued, anticipating that Iranian audiences would not be in shock at the content. “And also the internet. It’s not like nobody’s seen half-naked pop stars before. People are used to seeing Julia Roberts making out with George Clooney many times. What they’re not used to is seeing someone like themselves making out with someone else in their own language, in an environment that reminds them of their own life, because that’s a mirror of their own reality. That’s really the transgressive element here that doesn’t translate to a western audience.”

Watch the Holy Spider trailer below.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/09/holy-spider-trailer-iranian-serial-killer-1234767645/ Holy Spider Trailer: Iranian Serial Killer Slaughters Sex Workers

Lindsay Lowe

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