When Aaron (Patrick Brice) stumbles across an ad on Craigslist, it asks for someone with video camera to record a day in the life of Josef (Mark Duplass) for just one day and be paid for it. Aaron takes the gig and drives up to Josef’s remote cabin up in the mountains. Josef is dying of a brain tumor and wants to make the video for his unborn sun. While at first glance Josef comes off as pretty weird, overly friendly, and very intrusive, Aaron shakes it off. But the more Aaron starts to spend time with Josef, the more unsettling he comes in what he says as well as his behavior.
Creep is another entry in the found footage genre. However this one steers away from the overdone supernatural and sometimes serial killer plot line. While it still does have those moments where you can’t believe they’re still carrying around the camera, it at least works more in this sense than others. What also sets Creep apart is that it does bring a more realistic story to the table. Aaron is a very believable character that could come off as anyone. A down on his luck guy who is in need of some cash. He is also more intelligent than the average character in a found footage horror, he knows when enough’s enough and when to haul ass. However, this is slightly tarnished at the end. Patrick Brice plays Aaron perfectly, totally believable and hardly seems like he’s acting and during the more unsettling moments he plays it off how an average male would. Mark Duplass however, knocks it out of the park as Josef. He can play the weird and friendly guy easily, but right at the drop of a hat he can flip a switch and completely change character. The cast consists of only these two actors, but their performance come off as so natural right down to the dialogue. Some of Josef’s dialogue will have him casually talking about something random and harmless but then he’ll throw out a line in the same innocent tone but it still leaves Aaron and the viewer thrown through a loop and just have you thinking what the hell this guy is up to. Josef also has a signature werewolf mask in which he calls Peachfuzz. The mask is featured in some of the more unsettling and creepy moments in the film.
This leads me to one of the major praise-worthy points in this movie. Unlike most found footage horror, Creep doesn’t use cheap jump scares to get under the viewer’s skin. It does have a couple of cliche jump scares, but there are also some that are effective. But even the cliched ones work in that it goes hand in hand with Josef’s mentality. But more so, it does a fine job of building tension as far as where you think the story the story is going to go along with the characters. The build up for the tension and scares is very well-done, but it does it in a way that isn’t extremely reminiscent of the typical horror trope. It actually feels real. And while the ending does throw away the intelligence of Aaron, I was still satisfied with how it ended, psychotic aspects and all. Though all of this doesn’t set it apart from its faults. There were several times when I found myself wondering whether this movie was supposed to be a joke (not in a bad way), in the sense that it was more going for awkward laughs than trying to be scary. That said it does take a while for it to really build up to the thrilling moments. It also does suffer from moments where you think the movie is close to being over, but then you realize you still have another 30 minutes left. But it doesn’t hurt it completely.
Creep is easily one of those rare found footage horror movies that isn’t the typical horror film we’ve come to expect from the subgenre, but more so one that relies on our human instincts to make ourselves feel uncomfortable and creeped out. It plays out in the most realistic sense possible as far as how most of the story plays out, as well as the characters. But as stated, it does have some minor faults.
Creep can be viewed now on Netflix.