ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 9, 2015
By Steve Newton
I had a hankering for a scary movie late last night so took a look at the Horror Movies section on Netflix to see what was available.
The first five offerings were Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Prometheus, The Conjuring, Orphan, and World War Z, all of which I’d already seen, and all of which–apart from the totally decent WWZ–sucked the biggie.
The sixth pick was something from 2014 called Creep, which caught my attention with its eerie image of a man’s silhouette at the top of a flight of stairs. It stars Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice, which didn’t bode well because I remembered Duplass unfondly from The Lazarus Effect, that lame Flatliners rip-off from last February.
But I went ahead and watched Creep anyway, and man was it enjoyable.
It’s about an easygoing videographer named Aaron (co-writer and director Brice) who gets hired by a man named Josef (cowriter Duplass) to film him non-stop for a day at his semi-remote cabin. Josef explains that he’s been diagnosed with a baseball-sized tumor in his head, and only a couple of months to live, so wants to leave a video document for his unborn soon, like Michael Keaton did in My Life.
Josef comes off as bit of a strange bird, but at first you think that maybe he’s just quirky, or that his weirdness might be due to the fact that he’s facing imminent death. Soon enough, though, you come to see that he’s a total freak–especially when he confesses to a terrible crime against his own wife.
The bizarre relationship that develops between Josef and Aaron is hugely compelling, made more so as Josef’s potential danger to Aaron is both hinted at and revealed.
The fact that Aaron records every damn thing–even when he should be dropping the camera and running away–seems ridiculous at times, as it is in most found-footage horror flicks. But if you give yourself over to the idea that he’s a videographer whose instinct is to the keep the camera rolling, it’s not so hard to take.
Duplass’s whacked-out performance keeps you fairly riveted to the screen, wondering what crazy shit Josef’s gonna pull next–and how the tormented Aaron will respond. It’s one of the most memorable sicko roles I’ve seen in a while.
It definitely makes up for his wasted effort in The Lazarus Effect.
Creep is yet another project from Blumhouse Productions, which is best known for its supernatural horror franchises like Paranormal Activity and Insidious, but lately–with the thoroughly impressive The Gift–is doing great work portraying the evil that mortals do as well.
Way to go, Blumhouse! At this rate we might one day even forgive you for The Boy Next Door!