Creep, a film from writer/director Patrick Brice (The Overnight), has a premise ripped straight from our national headlines. Aaron (played by Brice) answers an ad on Craigslist for a videographer needed for a one-day shoot in a remote mountain town. Given our collective knowledge of dicey ads on Craigslist, and the face value implications of “remote mountain town”, it is no surprise to any member of the audience that all is not what it seems when Aaron meets Josef (Mark Duplass), the subject of his video shoot. In fact, when the first major “plot twist” arrives about thirty minutes into the film, it is less of a twist and more a confirmation of our suspicions.
Horror films can be broken down into three basic elements: (1) premise, (2) atmosphere (setting, score, production design) and (3) execution. Alas, Creep offers only one of three at best. Shot digitally, and looking like a home movie from an iPhone, Creep feels compelled to continue the “found footage” genre when there is nothing narratively to be gained from the technique. In fact, there are numerous moments where I found myself distracted, wondering who was actually shooting the footage. For the first five minutes of the film, I was convinced there were three cast members, and Aaron had a friend in the passenger seat recording his trip.
As an overall fan of Duplass the Actor (Safety Not Guaranteed, The One I Love), I find it difficult to blame his performance for the majority of the overall failure of the film, but you won’t believe a word his character utters. His acting is in direct conflict with the character being portrayed on screen. Let’s just say he’s a healthy looking guy to be making these particular requests of Aaron.
Creep is billed as a horror comedy. Unfortunately, it’s devoid of any real laughs or scares. During its final 20 minutes, a general air of apprehension and dread seeps into the proceedings, but by that point, the average audience member will have mentally checked out. Horror films thrive on unpredictability, and Creep is a by-the-numbers exercise in attempting to improvise a horror film. Most of what you expect to happen transpires on screen during its 82-minute running time.
The only thing that will frighten audiences is the thought that Creep is the first film in a proposed trilogy.
Creep hits most VOD platforms on June 23, 2015.
The Movie Isle
Scott Phillips holds a degree in print journalism from the University of Georgia and is currently a member of the Georgia Film Critics Association (GAFCA). In addition to his role as a correspondent for Timed Edition, Scott serves as the Executive Editor and Senior Writer for themovieisle.com. From 2013 through 2017, he reviewed films for filmdispenser.com. Along with his duties as a critic, Scott serves as the Content Programmer for the Way Down Film Festival held in Columbus, Georgia every fall.