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[Review] – ‘Creep’

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 19 June 2015 [USA]
 
Director: Patrick Brice
 
Writer: Patrick Brice - Mark Duplass
 
Cast: Patrick Brice - Mark Duplass
 


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Posted June 29, 2015 by

 
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Review:

Found footage films are very far from my favorite form of figures frolicking at 24-frames-per- second. If we consider THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT as the start of the modern era of “found footage” (watch 1980s CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST if you want something much more visceral in the genre) then the legacy of this brand of horror leaves a lot to be desired. I know how popular found footage movies are, but 99 out of 100 times, they are wholly unwatchable.

So, where does that leave CREEP? Directed and co-written by Patrick Brice (THE OVERNIGHT) and starring Mark Duplass (THE MINDY PROJECT) and Patrick Brice, Creep is a found footage film with an interesting premise. Josef (Duplass) has a terminal illness and he needs Aaron (Brice) to record his final days. These videos will be left to Josef’s unborn son. The money is good, the job is simple enough, Aaron is onboard. Not a bad premise, and not a bad way to set up a found footage flick.

My first problem with Creep is the same one I have with nearly every found footage film — the camera work. Most found footage films feel like I’m watching a monkey playing a first-person shooter and the camera movement is wildly erratic. That motion is supposed to put me in the movie and make me feel the dread of whatever is going on. However, more often than not, I’m questioning why anyone in their right mind would hold a camera while running for their life or creep through a house looking for a deranged lunatic with a camera in hand? My suspended disbelief, in these moments, finds its strings cut and I am falling right back down to reality. In certain movies of the genre like CHRONICLE or GRAVE ENCOUNTERS the logic behind the camera work meshes well with the plot. And I think that unity with story is essential in a good found footage film.

The story of Creep is ambitious and interesting at its core. The execution of it leaves some things to be desired. For instance, videographer Aaron shows up with a camera and little else. No tripod or equipment of any significant kind. I don’t even think he had a spare battery. For a videographer, he’s not very smart or prepared. Considering this is Aaron’s business, he could’ve offered Josef a movie with angles provided by a camera on a tripod and moments captured by a second, hand-held camera, or the camera on a mobile. Just about any real-world videographer will do this.

The second weakness in the story is the characters. The filmmakers seem to want Duplass’ performance to carry the film like Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING, but it just doesn’t work. Duplass is creepy from the start, but the very definition of the word creep is that it’s slow moving. We should feel that Duplass is pretty normal and sincere, and then gradually see more and more of the creepy, creep in. It never happens. Aaron on the other hand, we know very little about him. I never got to a point where I cared about him one way or another. In fact, because Duplass is so weird from the start, you’re left wondering why it takes so long for Aaron to figure out he should just leave.

According to Duplass, many scenes in the film have “10 to 12 different permutations.” In other words, the film was made, in part, as they filmed. And that lack of an organized core script hinders what the filmmakers were going for with the story. Creep wants to hit with some strong twists but they never quite pay off, because most of the time the story meanders and is full of jibber-jabber. You see this a lot in found footage movies where they lull you into a calm while listening to inane “common speak.” This is done to make the jump-scares more effective, but horror doesn’t work that way. Instead, the dialogue is designed to make you connect with the characters that are about to be terrified for the next hour or so. In Creep, that connection never really manifests and so we’re left observing the movie rather than experiencing it.

Released in March of 2014, Creep was recently purchased by Netflix and iTunes and is set for official, and global, release in July of 2015. If you’re a fan of horror, it’s not very horrific. Creep does genuinely have some creepy moments, but is ultimately not as creepy as it could have been.

 

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Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 19.02.58

Ruben R. Diaz
@RMartian
Freelance Contributor

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