Directed by: Patrick Brice
Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Run Time: 80 minutes
Get it. Like the Radiohead song. I'm so fuckin clever.
Aaron answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town. Aaron is a videographer in desperate need of quick cash, and the job is simple enough: “$1,000 for the day. Filming service. Discretion is appreciated.” He heads to the cabin where he meets Josef, who seems nice enough and they two get along well enough. Shenanigans aplenty ensue because I'm watching a horror movie called Creep.
Creep is a found footage movie - shit wait, come back, don't hit that X please. Yeah I know how it sounds, but just stick it out. It’s a found footage movie about two people: Aaron (Patrick Brice) and Josef (Mark Duplass). When I say it’s about two people, I'm not exaggerating. They’re the only actors in the movie, both share writing credits, and Brice is the director. The movie rests on their chemistry with one another. If they don't play off of each other, the entire thing falls apart. As a man who has watched an unreasonable number of found footage movies where kids in their early 20's clumsily deliver terrible dialogue, it was a breath of fresh air to see their entire range of interactions - from a nervous first meeting to ice breaking to learning about each other to learning way too much about each other and then terrible, horrible things - are all believable. Without their conversations with one another carrying every scene there is no movie, plain and simple.
|Trim up your pencil mustache and pop them peepers. Put this in your speakers, you a certified creeper.|
I’m not going to lie, when I came into this I didn’t think I’d be able to see Duplass as anyone other than Pete from The League. Yes, I’m aware he’s been in 2 dozen indie movies since The League premiered, but he’ll always be Pete to me. I had trouble with it at first, and for the first 15 minutes or so I was waiting for Paul Scheer to walk into the cabin in a fedora and Ed Hardy dress shirt, but it didn't take too long for me to push that out of my head and get immersed in the movie.
Creep is one of few movies in recent years that actually utilizes its found footage format instead of using it because it's insanely cheap. I'll be honest, I found this movie on Netflix on a lazy
literally any day Saturday afternoon so when I hit play and it opened with Aaron setting up a camera next to him and talking into it while driving I did what most of us do when faced with this type of movie - I got really mad about it on the Internet. Once I was done adjusting my glasses I submitted my post to the IMDb forum and got back to the movie. The found footage format accentuates the level of Josef's crazy by making you experience it through Aaron's eyes. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that in a movie called Creep that Duplass’ character is hiding some dark shit. I’ll just say he’s got some issues, and we can leave it at that.
|It's not like the movie is hiding it or anything|
There are no quick cuts, so the camera is constantly lingering on Josef's face while the two of them interact. After all, they're the only two people in the entire movie. By leaving the camera on Josef's face, you see him change emotions in the blink of an eye. He's hyperventilating and panicking on the verge of tears, but when Aaron calls him out on lying behind the camera Josef immediately stops crying and looks back at him menacingly. Aaron notices - just like we do - and quickly changes the subject and Josef immediately changes to happy and jovial. It's all in one take and it's all right in the middle of the frame. You watch him change back and forth quickly and realize something is not right, and as the movie spoonfeeds you more and more information about the truth about Josef the tension keeps amping up until the ending. Aaron goes from being nervous, to thinking this guy is eccentric but nice enough, to thinking something is wrong, to oh god this shit is fucked please get me out throughout the movie, and since you're seeing everything through his eyes you're experiencing it with him.
When you're dealing with a movie this small in scale, it's entirely up to the actors to carry it. Mark Duplass looks like he's having the time of his life playing this creep (oh I get it now) and the comedic timing he brings elevate what could have been just another direct to VOD found footage movie. There's no less than three different jump scares that are nothing but Duplass running ahead of Aaron, hiding, and then purposely scaring the absolute shit out of him. It's funny every single time and it's obvious that the smile on Mark's face is legit. As a man who spends a lot of his downtime at work hiding behind walls in the back and jumping out and yelling at coworkers, this movie really spoke to me on a higher level. I'm also an awkward, sociopathic, unlikable creep, so this movie REALLY spoke to me.
The only real problem I had with Creep was its ending. Obviously I’m not going to say what it is, but the final minutes of the movie seem like they belong in a worse movie. I wouldn’t say it ruined the experience for me, but I had a bit of a “aww come on, I thought you were better than this.” I guess that’s what happens when you go into a movie planning for it to be part of a trilogy. With that said, Creep is one of the best found footage movies in the last five years. Not only is it a nice mix of humor and horror, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. A horror movie I can stream off Netflix that’s an hour and 17 minutes? It doesn’t take much persuading to give that a shot. And you should, it’s worth your time.