In a previous post I exclaimed my excitement for this to hit Netflix and today I finally found the time to be able to sit down and give it the attention, I feel, it richly deserves. What I was hoping for was a dark, taut thrill ride full of suspense and uncomfortable weirdness. Did I get it? Read on and find out...
Released exclusively for Netflix on July 14th Creep is billed as a found footage horror film and is the brain child of Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass who between them wrote, directed and starred in it. It seems to follow a simple plot and tags quite nicely onto the queue of films within the found footage genre but (and here's the good part) it has one massive thing going for it that I feel helps it stand alone.
Brice plays videographer Aaron who answers an advert on craigslist to do a days work for Duplass's character Josef. He drives out to a remote location without much information about the job at hand, meets up with his new 'boss' and the story follows from there.
That really is it, it's all very simple, and for me this is where the film's pros start coming. There is no mass set up or drawn out introduction process in order to give either character a back story; instead the film jumps straight in and continues to tick along at a solid pace. I loved this because it kept my interest and started the run on that massive thing this film has (that I talked about earlier).. piles and piles of tension. The tension gets to build right off the bat because like Aaron the viewer is stepping into complete unknown territory. The found footage element allows us to see the plot through his eyes and the characters develop right in front of ours.
Both Duplass's acting and the characterisation of Josef is brilliant. Through the first act of the film I felt real sympathy for him. Don't get me wrong there was always that wisp of weird hanging in the air but if I hadn't read the synopsis first, I would've thought this film was going in a whole different direction. There are elements of dark comedy in Creep too and most of that comes from Duplass. It wasn't laugh out loud funny but then I don't believe it's meant to be. Instead it left me feeling uncomfortable and quite heavily so. There were moments when I caught myself trying to get my head around this paradoxical character Duplass was playing. He really confused me in a bad way that became good as I felt a lump in my throat more than once. I thought back to another of Duplass's writing credits Cyrus and realised that I was becoming wrapped in the same shroud of odd I was the first time I saw that and as Cyrus still makes me shudder that has to be testament to Duplass.
Brice is great too. Alex is played more straight than Josef but if you think that this film is a simple case of good vs bad you'll be mistaken. There's something definitely not quite right about this character either and Brice plays it with such conviction that it's almost too late before you realise. I love little things like this films, the bits that make your head swim and question what you have just been watching. The second act is quite twisty but as that tension is always an under current none of it is in your face, instead it's subtle mirroring Brice's depiction of Alex. Fab!
The plot itself burns slow making parts of it almost unwatchable. Not because it's bad mind you, it's the intensity of it all. That tension I keep mentioning is there right to the very end and is in absolutely everything. It's in the acting, the direction and the plot and at times it's completely overbearing. It's been a while since a film has been able to do that to me and I absolutely loved it. More please!