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Holy Spider (18)

Sat 18 Feb 2023 - Tue 21 Feb 2023


Other Information

Rated 18


£8* Standard | £5* Student / Under 25s


Various (See dates below)

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Holy Spider (18)

Dir. Ali Abbasi
2022 | 117 mins | Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France
Persian with English subtitles
Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad


  • Sat 18 Feb: 5.45pm
  • Sun 19 Feb: 2.30pm
  • Sun 19 Feb: 7.45pm
  • Mon 20 Feb: 5.30pm
  • Tue 21 Feb: 2pm

New from Ali Abbasi – director of the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated Border (2018) – this graphic, highly accomplished true crime thriller sets its scene in Iran’s spiritual capital, Mashhad, where a brutal cat-and-mouse-game unfolds between a serial killer and a journalist seeking justice.

Saeed (Mehdi Bajestani) is a doting family man and a devout Shia Muslim. A veteran of the Iran–Iraq War, he seems to live quietly with his wife Fatima (Forouzan Jamshidnejad) and their children in the exalted city of Mashhad. But at night, Saeed cruises his hometown’s seedy alleyways on a ‘holy’ crusade to cleanse it of immorality, luring unwitting sex workers to their deaths. Amid a growing media frenzy about the murders, and relative police indifference to them, journalist Rahimi (Zar Amir Ebrahimi, winner of Best Actress at Cannes 2022 for the role) arrives on the scene, determined to uncover the killer’s identity.

Telling a chilling story based on true events that took place in Mashhad between 2000-1, Abbasi’s meticulously made film includes explicit scenes of murder and sexual violence, whilst also refocusing attention on the experiences of the women whose lives were stolen. A taut, linear thriller, shot through with a dark elegance, Holy Spider offers a stark commentary on Iran’s repressive, intensely patriarchal society and its age-old patterns of misogyny, which women and girls across the country are currently putting their own lives on the line to protest.


F-Rating is a new rating for films directed by women, written by women and/or with significant female characters on screen, in their own right. Find out more here >>


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