This is an ingenious little gem right here. Found-footage films have gotten a bad rap as of late and this is primarily due to the awful quality of the majority of the pictures that can call themselves that. Found-footage can be effective; it can be extremely effective, but with the correct usage. Creep is a found-footage horror film from new director Patrick Brice (The Overnight) and this is one of the ones that work. Not only does it terrify you, but it torments you, leaving a lasting effect that will haunt you for quite some time after the credits roll.
Creep centers on a camera for hire, Aaron (Patrick Brice) who answers to an online ad to film for a day for a compensation of $1,000. Aaron, who is low on money, takes the job and journeys out to see Josef (Mark Duplass) who claims he is dying of cancer and wants to make a video diary for his expected son that he will most likely never meet. Josef seems sincere and kind so Aaron begins filming and the day begins a bit strangely, but nothing to worry about, yet as the day turns to night, it becomes alarmingly clear that Josef is not who he says he is.
Mark Duplass, who you may know as Pete Eckhart from the television sitcom The League, plays Josef and Duplass gives a remarkable, troubling performance. This role more so than any other role of his shows that he his an outstanding talent, giving a similar subtlety and transformative performance that Jack Nicholson accomplished in The Shining. At first, he seems like a normal albeit awkward guy, but little does Aaron know that menacing things are afoot. You can see the seams holding Josef’s sanity together begin to break and throughout even the beginning there are hints to what is really hidden underneath such as when he pulls out his wolf mask he calls “Peach-Fuzz”. His performance is depraved, unnerving and ultimately tormenting in its discomfort. This movie thrives on the uncomfortable though, making awkward, cringe-inducing situations into a kind of terrifying poetry to try and get as far under your skin as possible, and it gets deep.
The writing, also by Duplass and Brice, is what creates the atmosphere. The dialogue from Aaron represents a kind of bystander while Josef’s is kind, but quietly threatening, as if he is deviously manipulating him into doing his bidding. The screenplay is also often quite funny with it delving into a kind of quirky amusement that acts as a tactic to get the viewer’s guard down. There is one scene, which is the turning point of the film, where the dialogue is something close to brilliant. Josef is confessing something to Aaron and it is filmed only with dialogue due to the fact Josef asked Aaron to stop filming, so Aaron just covers the lense. In this scene, we don’t need to see Josef’s face, his speech does all that needs to be done. It was quite horrifying.
Creep is not your usual found-footage horror flick. It uses this style the way God intended thanks to a chilling atmosphere and well executed suspense. Creep is pretty relentless. Within the third act there wasn’t a moment I felt safe to let my guard down. It stays like this until it’s riveting, intriguing end that will leave you speechless.