Creep

Release: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

[Netflix]

Written by: Patrick Brice; Mark Duplass

Directed by: Patrick Brice

Creep is Brice’s directorial debut, pairing the writer-director with master of strange Mark Duplass of mostly independent film fame. As with his sophomore effort The Overnight the less I mumble on, the higher Creep‘s potential to surprise becomes. And if I’m not just going crazy, Brice seems to like it creepy. Both features thus far feature a substantial amount of pure, unbridled . . . weirdness. (Though The Overnight might eclipse this clearly more modestly budgeted production in that regard.)

But where The Overnight disconcerted viewers by forcing them to bear witness to a pair of thirtysomethings slowly embracing and then taking social improprieties to a whole new level, Creep has very little, if any, basis upon which one could judge socially acceptable behavior. It has this kind of detachment that sets the film distinctly away from normality. The film starts off in a car with a videographer named Aaron (Brice) headed for the rolling hills of Nowheresville, USA to interview someone for . . . something. He’s hoping his subject is a woman, since the only description of the job given is that “discretion would be appreciated.”

Using his handheld camera as the only means of connecting with us, Aaron soon seems like a saint compared to his subject, a lonely man named Josef (Duplass) who comes across as unstable from the get-go. Creep follows Aaron as he gets to know his subject over the course of a single day, and while the usual nitpicks against found footage are on display — I advise against eating while watching because the shaky cam could have an adverse effect — the device is incredibly effective. In places it’s downright chilling.

Brice may be wielding it more often than not but aside from Duplass his recording device is the real star of the film. It’s a unique conduit of information, and not simply for the obvious. The visuals put in front of us are as important as the things we cannot see — a reaction on Aaron’s part; a physical change in perspective. These help build upon Creep‘s steadily ominous and even darkly comic atmosphere. I’m more comfortable placing a stronger emphasis on the former though.

There are a few moments that reveal the inherent flaw of shooting found footage style of course, like when the camera continues rolling when the user ought to just be . . . well . . . . Let’s just say he’s got higher priorities than guiding us through a particular room at a certain point. But this is an issue easily covered up by the strong work turned in by the epitome of a tight-knit cast. It’s just Brice and Duplass in this one. Suffice it to say, Duplass will be difficult to look at the same way again after watching him take this dark turn.

So there I was at the end of the film, standing in the back of this hypothetical screening, applauding emphatically. Maybe that was me making up for my previous indiscretion for trying to leave early. But thank goodness for Brice, for showing not only his ability to make wise decisions with the style but for realizing opportunities to avoid its many pitfalls. Creep may not last long but it is enough.

Recommendation: Living up to its title spectacularly, Creep is light on runtime but dark in tone and refreshingly original. The found footage genre still has life left in it yet! Pick this one up if you’re in the mood for something chilling, and for a great performance from Mark Duplass. 

Rated: R

Running Time: 82 mins.

Quoted: “Tubby time.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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17 thoughts on “Creep

    • Oh wow I had forgotten he’s one of the main dudes in The League! Thanks for that reminder man. Yeah, he makes for a really creepy guy. Not so much scary maybe but thoroughly off his rocker. Creep is a really under-stated and under-appreciated little movie I think. Glad you loved it as well. (Can’t remember if I read your review or not. I’ll need to go back and check your blog)

      • I didn’t write about it, didn’t feel like I had much to say so I didn’t say anything. I agree with you re Duplass, not so much scary, more a dude who is a total lunatic!!

        And yeah man, I haven’t even seen him in anything other than the league. Apparently him and his brother are responsible for mumblecore movies, whatever the FUCK mumblecore means!!!

        • Yeah, Creep is a pretty slim little film but glad I watched it via Netflix.

          Mumblecore is a very small underground movement where characters are universally awkward and/or aggressively quirky. The stories are also more of the same, centered around fairly typical life events that are somehow tweaked thanks to the performances and the director’s eye. Mumblecore is kind of a dumb way to describe it, though. I do concede that! 🙂

          • Yeah it sounds like an obscure sub-genre of metal!! Creep was a good film though, mainly cos of Duplass tho. I usually don’t like the found-footage type stuff

  1. Initially I thought Duplass mumblecored his victim(s) to death, but then I watched the trailer and it looks pretty good! Duplass has that slightly maniacal vacant look on his face that kind of creeps you out. Have you ever seen Baghead, which Duplass co-directed with his bro? Good filk, well worth checking out.

    • Haha! Duplass wears his creepiness all too naturally. If he didn’t seem like a genuinely good dude I’d say he’d be a lot like this character in reality, but I’m hoping to God that’s not the case!!

      I haven’t seen Baghead, I actually haven’t heard of it! Thanks for putting that on my radar Mark. I’ll be on the hunt for it.

  2. Wow! That is a crazy range of reactions. I’ve been there. I know exactly what you’re saying. What’s really bad is when you stick it out in the movie never makes it worth your while! Sounds like this one pulled it off.

    • I may have gone into too much detail with setting this review up. I actually watched this on Netflix, I was more alluding to the fact that I just don’t trust found footage all that much and this one really does pull it off. I headed into the movie knowing good things about it and came out the other end in full agreement. This one is really solid. I think it helps I’m a big fan of Mark Duplass, though. Interestingly I wasn’t as much a fan of Patrick Brice’s follow-up film. Funny how movies work!

      • Ahhh I see. Comprehension has been known to elude me! 😉

        I’m always apprehensive when it comes to found footage. I’m so tired of it. But it’s really encouraging to hear of it done right. What We Do in the Shadows kinda does that (and really well).

        • Haha, no I don’t think it’s you. I put an. . .erm, interesting spin on this piece haha. But you’re totally right, I’m with you in terms of how found footage so often is just a gimmick. It has gotten old. But WWDITS is another great example. That’s one of my favorite movies of the year I think.

  3. This is an odd one. I wanted it to be funnier — for long stretches it seemed to be going for awkward dark humour and not quite hitting the mark. It is unsettling and creepy though, and that ending is whopper. Fair point about the found footage aspect too, it’s definitely one of the better recent offerings. Great write-up mate.

    • Thanks man, I agree it’s not funny enough. In fact I kind of forced that fact into my review about it being darkly comedic and I probably should not have. It’s not quite as funny as it wants to be yet what it’s good at it really excels at. Duplass is scary and good. Scary good, in fact. 😉

      • Duplass is great — he’s so annoying, gets under your skin brilliantly. I watched this not long after seeing him in The One I Love, where his role different in many ways but equally odd.

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