Review: Creep (2014)

The official poster for the film Creep starring Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. Photo: Sony pictures Entertainment

The official poster for the film Creep starring Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. Photo: Sony pictures Entertainment

Found Footage films are an odd genre to discuss. On one hand, these kind of films can be a fairly interesting and effective way to bring across a greater sense of reality and energy to proceedings.

On the other, they can be accused of being a lazy and uncreative technique used by filmmakers who don’t want to bother with concepts such as cinematography and mise en scène.

The method works best when the film concerns itself with an isolated location with a threat of which the nature is not immediately known, so it can be discovered along with the characters.  Luckily this is an aspect that Creep captures beautifully.

 

Creep tells the story of Aaron (Patrick Brice), an aspiring filmmaker, who, after answering a Craigslist advert, meets up with Josef (Mark Duplass), a terminally ill eccentric loner living in the forest. Aaron is informed that he will be filming Josef as he goes about his day – showing him as he was for the benefit of his unborn son.

Mark Duplass’ portrayal of Josef is one not to miss. Duplass is able to play a man who is vaguely aware of how humans act. Extremely chirpy in inappropriate situations, deadly serious in others, sharing his innermost secrets with the utmost sincerity to a man he has only known for a day before violating personal space with all the innocence of a child.

If he ever does anything creepy you can easily chalk it up to him simply not knowing any better.

A fine comparison could be made to the work of David Lynch. Lynch, especially in his early films such as Eraserhead (1977), was a master of making you think something was “off”.

Creep manages to capture this feeling expertly, leading to the first two acts of this film being some of the most unnerving, effective and disturbing cinema in recent memory in which you know there is a threat and you just do not quite know where it is coming from.

By no stretch of the imagination does the film crash and burn in the third act but it definitely loses some of its power.

After an excellent scene in which the true nature of the situation is revealed, the action suddenly shifts away from the isolated house it had been taking place into a more suburban location with a far less ambiguous threat.

In these scenes, the film threatens to devolve into outright cliché. This being said, the creepy and unnerving atmosphere is still maintained in a few select scenes and the spirit of the film is not lost.

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Creep is an excellent horror film, well worth your time. From a fairly generic set-up in which two characters stay together in an isolated cabin, the film manages to create some truly uncomfortable and unnerving scenes with a plot that does not go quite where you expect it to.

Mark Duplass’ performance as Josef is one of the most effective horror characters in recent memory, firmly grounding the film in a creepy and foreboding atmosphere that does not lift, even during the sub-par final scenes.

If you want to spend 90 minutes perched precariously on the edge of your seat then can’t go much wrong with Creep.