Director – Patrick Brice
Cast – Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
Release Year – 2015
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I will admit that Mark Duplass is the reason I watched this film. Found footage flicks are a dime a dozen these days and nearly the entire dozen are garbage. However, I gave this one a chance because I was curious to see if Duplass could make up for the 2012 flick Black Rock, which is an absolutely terrible film written by him. Alongside first-timer Patrick Brice, the duo managed to not only succeed at the found-footage sub-genre, but they delivered a hell of a film – a creepy one at that.
Strapped for cash, Aaron answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job as a videographer for a terminally ill man. What was supposed to be an easy gig becomes a terrifying ordeal when he finds his client has not been honest with him.
Mark and Patrick’s story takes off right away, with Aaron meeting his very ODD client Josef almost immediately. It is very obvious that there is something aloof about the man, but he pays Aaron up front for the next 8 hours of his time. He’ll be done and on his way home before sundown, so what is there to worry about? Josef explains that he is a terminally ill man who wants to leave a video memoir for his unborn child. Still sounds like a safe gig right? Then it gets weird – fast. Josef wants some very unconventional acts to be recorded, and right away you get the feeling that there must be an ulterior motive to the job. Sure enough, 24 minutes into the film things get weirder. The day is over. The job is complete. The rest of the film is where the tension and horror are brought to light. There are consistent revelations regarding Josef, with each one upping the ante. Aaron’s distress is growing insidiously, and the rest of the film is full of more surprises than I expected. It is hard to expand on the remaining acts without removing the story’s mystique. Just know that the remainder of the film will be worth your while.
Patrick Brice does a damn good job in his first directing effort. The scenes are well-shot and he creates tension with ease. I will say, though, that the acting performances had everything to do with this. Mark Duplass is tremendous as Josef. We watch as his character increasingly loses his filter and becomes the person he has always been behind the mask. I have seen him accused of self-indulgence, and I cannot say that I would argue against it. What I will say is that he succeeded at what he intended to do. He creeps you out. So the tension is there, but is it scary? No wouldn’t say that. It’s a creepy film, as the title suggests. The few “scares” that do occur are self-aware jump scares that are simply Josef toying with Aaron. I cannot see a genre vet scaring from this flick, but I can see them appreciating something good from the found-footage sub-genre.
Overall, Creep is a fresh effort that should please those looking for something different in the often-convoluted found-footage scene. It’s not as heavy on the scares as I would have liked, but it definitely has the tension and “creep”-factor to suffice.