Creep (2014)

Directed By: Patrick Brice
Written By: Patrick Brice
  Mark Duplass
Starring: Patrick Brice
  Mark Duplass

Creep isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s almost certainly unlike any other found footage horror movie you’ll have seen. It’s awkwardly funny, strangely compelling and has moments of genuinely unsettling horror.

Aaron, a videographer, (Patrick Brice) answers a peculiar ad on Craigslist requesting the services of someone to document ‘a day in the life’. When he turns up at his destination, he meets an affable, if over-eager and excitable man named Josef who soon informs Aaron of his cancer diagnosis. His plan is simple; create a video for his unborn son in order to leave him a legacy. Despite his initial reluctance Aaron agrees and the two set out to make a suitable visual birthright.

To begin with Creep starts out like most other found footage movies but after a first half that’s almost entirely devoid of scares, it switches gear into something much stranger and less predictable, following an inappropriately hilarious confession from Josef involving a wolf mask and a weirdly predatory sexual encounter with his wife. At which point it becomes difficult to tell if Josef is really who he says he is.

Josef is a peculiar and terrifying creation. At first glance he’s pleasant, earnest and refreshingly free of inhibitions but as the film wears on he becomes frightening in his calm but obsessive nature. It’s nice to see Mark Duplass playing against type and with this and his production credit on the wickedly funny Bad Milo, it goes some way to erasing his involvement in the dismal Black Rock and making the Duplass Brothers much more interesting players in the horror field.

Patrick Brice not only co-stars, as the only other character that we see on screen, he also takes the mantles of writer and director. One wonders whether or not his roles were borne of necessity or desire but he balances each well.

Much of Creep‘s charm comes from it’s balance of cringeworthy humour and sheer oddness. You’ll find yourself hiding your face behind your hands on more than one occasion but it’s hard to know whether it’ll be because you’ll be flinching from ill-at-ease laughter or fright.

Creep is a quiet, deliberate film that’s low on scares but high on atmosphere. It’s no thrill-ride but it’s surprisingly satisfying and mystifying in equal measure, although it certainly won’t be for everyone. Given the announcement that it’s the first film in a trilogy I’m very interested to see where Brice sees this theme going.

Although Creep is less of a horror movie and more of a psychological (or should that be psychopathic) character study, it manages to serve as an effective slice of tension whilst also offering us a dose of awkward humour and a character that’s fun and engaging enough to spend 90 minutes with. It’s an odd little film and will likely split audiences but if you’re in the market for something a bit different, that’s also an antidote to the slew of run-of-the-mill found footage flicks, then you should probably consider checking it out.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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