Synopsis: When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.
Release Date: June 19, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Most people know Mark Duplass from the FX television show “The League,” but he has been quietly making a name for himself lately as both an actor and a producer in quirky independent films like Safety Not Guaranteed and The One I Love. Duplass has even tried dipping his foot into the horror pool with the laughably bad The Lazarus Effect. Hopefully, fans can forget about that abomination and judge Duplass’ horror credibility by last year’s South by Southwest sensation Creep.
Creep is about an unemployed videographer named Aaron (The Overnight‘s Patrick Brice, who also directs) who answers a Craigslist ad requesting “discrete filming services.” He drives out to a secluded cabin in the mountains where he meets Josef (Duplass), a man who claims to be dying of cancer and wants to make a video diary to give to his unborn son. The assignment starts off routine enough, with Aaron’s camera documenting Josef telling stories, and the pair hiking out to a mountain lake that supposedly has healing properties. Soon enough, however, the interviews get more serious and threatening, and Aaron learns dark and disturbing secrets from Josef’s past. Aaron starts wondering where the truth ends and Josef’s psychotic world of fantasy begins.
There’s really not much to Creep. Two actors, one of whom is the director, with a single camera and a very contained storyline. The feel of the film is very relaxed and nonchalant, as if there is no script and every word and action is improvised. And, quite frankly, with Brice and Duplass sharing the writing credit, that’s most likely how it was made. It’s low-budget filmmaking in its purest form. And it works.
Of course, with one of the characters being a videographer, Creep is a found footage movie. There’s usually a stigma attached to the subgenre, but Creep manages to avoid the shame by making fun of it; it’s almost too purposeful, too typical of a found footage movie. At times, especially towards the end of the movie when things really get rolling, the audience finds itself questioning things that are happening, only to have the movie question itself along with them a minute or two later. What at first seems to be inconsistent writing instead becomes satire, or a parody. If that was the intention, it’s brilliant. If not, well, it’s still brilliant, but accidentally so.
Creep is kind of like a mic-drop on the found footage genre. Is it going to put an end to the trend? No. But, if it did, it would be a perfect one.
It may not be saying much, but Creep is about as scary as an average found footage movie. It doesn’t have the maddening suspense of, say, a Paranormal Activity movie, but it does have its fair share of shocking moments. Most of the scares are provided by Mark Duplass, and he accomplishes it in a number of different ways. First off, there are a bunch of cheap jump scares; the character of Josef is always sneaking up on Aaron and yelling at him suddenly and loudly, a technique that always results in a heart-stopping scare when seen through the first-person camera of found footage. Another scary factor in the film is a wolf mask that Josef has that factors into one of the stories that he tells and comes into play a few times in the movie in horrifying ways. However, the scariest part of Creep is Duplass’ whole demeanor about his character. Duplass plays Josef with a calm psychosis that can only be described as unnerving – you know something’s wrong with him, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Creep isn’t pants-poopingly scary, but the fear that is there is because of Duplass and the underlying tension of his stalker-ific portrayal of Josef. Mark Duplass’ performance earns the movie its name.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Patrick Brice
- Producer(s): Jason BlumMark Duplass
- Screenwriter(s): Patrick BriceMark Duplass
- Cast: Mark Duplass (Josef)Patrick Brice (Aaron)
- Editor(s): Christopher Donlon
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Kyle Field
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA