Here’s Where to Watch and stream Ali Abbasi’s New Persian Drama “Holy Spider” Online

Watch Stream Holy Spider Online

How to Watch Holy Spider?: Iranian director Ali Abbasi’s latest Persian-language crime thriller “Holy Spider” has been making waves ever since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it competed for the Palme d’Or. Based on a real-life Iranian serial killer who targeted sex workers and murdered 16 women during 2000-2001, Holy Spider follows journalist Rahimi’s investigation of the killer Saeed Hanaei.

The film went on to win the Best Actress award at Cannes for Zar Amir-Ebrahimi’s leading turn as the journalist. It is internationally co-produced by Sol Bondy and Jacob Jarek along with Abbasi himself and it is the Danish official entry for the “Best International Film” category for the upcoming Academy Awards in March 2023.

Abbasi made his debut in 2016 with the Danish Supernatural horror “Shelley” which was produced by Jacob Jarek as well. In the same year, the official development of “Holy Spider” started. What further boosted the development was the huge success of Abbasi’s sophomore effort, the Swedish fantasy film Border (2018). Along with winning Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2018, this film also became the Swedish official entry for the 91st Academy Awards.

However, the production of Holy Spider had to face a lot of trouble over the next 3 years. The original plan of shooting it in Iran had to be changed and the secondary plan of shooting in Jordan instead got interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The production eventually moved to Turkey because of minimal Covid restrictions, but that was stalled by the Turkish Authorities thanks to the interference of the Iranian Government as quoted by Abbasi. The film was eventually shot in Jordan over a course of 35 days in May 2021.

Holy Spider Cast:

Iranian Actor Mehdi Bajestani, mostly known for his work in theatre was cast as the titular serial killer. Zar Amir Ibrahimi, who was originally working as a casting director for the film was cast as the journalist after another actor dropped out of the same role. Given she ended up winning the best actress at Cannes, the other actress dropping out turned out to be a happy accident after all. Other important cast members include Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad & Nima Akbarpour.

What is the controversy surrounding the movie?

Ever since the film started to make noise, it has been riddled with controversies. Ebrahim Irajzad, another Iranian director who made the film Killer Spider (2020) on a similar subject matter accused Abbasi of plagiarism.

The biggest controversy came in the form of disapproval by the Iranian Government, which labeled the film “insulting and politically motivated”. In fact, people staying inside Iran are going to be subjected to punishment if they’re found involved with this film in any way.

Abbasi has stated that his intention was not making a film about a Serial killer, but about the deep-rooted misogyny within Iranian society.

Despite all the controversies and roadblocks, the film stands at a comfortable 83% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 58 reviews and 74 out of 109 at Metacritic based on 17 reviews, which speaks volumes for it.


After the Cannes premiere, the North American right to the film was acquired by Utopia, an American distribution company that is all set to release it across US theatres on 28th October 2022 in a limited capacity.

Apart from that, Mubi acquired the right for streaming the movie in the UK, Ireland, Latin America, and Malaysia so it can be expected to be available for Mubi subscribers in those countries. As for the rest of the world, it is still unclear where it will be available to stream. The best bet is probably Video on Demand unless another OTT platform emerges as a savior. Keep an eye on this space as we will update details as soon as it becomes accessible to us.

Watch the Trailer Here:

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