Creep is a 2014 found footage horror film directed by and co-starring Patrick Brice. This is Brice’s feature directorial debut and he is lucky enough to work with Mumblecore legend Mark Duplass. These two are the only two actors in the film. The film is entirely told from the perspective of Aaron’s camera, creating three perspectives, despite there only being two actors.
Building uncertainty: Patrick Brice plays Aaron, an independent videographer looking for a quick buck. A Craigslist ad offers to pay him $1,000 to simply record an anonymous person for the day. Aaron has no idea what to expect, therefore, the audience has almost no idea what to expect. He first contemplates that maybe an older woman is looking for a good time, but this isn’t the case. Instead, Josef (Mark Duplass) is on the other end. As usual, Duplass is incredibly charismatic, but in this film, he adds a tinge of uncertainty.
Hard to define horror: The horror genre has been reblooming over the past few years. Many films have succeeded in changing what we think of the genre. This film is no different. This film truly lives up to its title, it’s just creepy. It’s not scary in a traditional sense, it borders on comedy and parody a lot of the time, but it is disturbing. Giving the audience the same point of view as Aaron brilliantly allows the film to unveil what is really happening. You never know for sure until Aaron knows for sure. You speculate about what’s happening with him. Uncertainty is what makes horror what it is.
You are the last character: Steady-cam or found footage is often a criticized form of cinematography, as it should be. Sometimes it feels like a lazy way to put the audience in the film, but it becomes more distracting than anything. This film uses steady-cam as a game, and it does so brilliantly. The camera is being controlled by a person who is in a weird situation and the camera is following the person causing the weird situation. It’s the perfect way to utilize the style. Aaron is trying to figure this out as you are. The film rarely cuts during a scene, allowing an almost unfiltered view of Aaron’s experience. You see the situation from your own perspective through Aaron’s camerawork. Horror films love to create an atmosphere of immediate fear; is the murderer in that bathroom, is the monster around the corner, etc. This movie takes that aura and makes it a mystery. What the f--- is happening is more prevalent than when is the next horror moment. The audience doesn’t really know what’s happening until the end. This makes a second viewing so much fun. You know where the weirdness is, where the deception is and you can truly appreciate what the brilliant Mark Duplass does.
Another fantastic film in the revival of creative horror. Duplass and company continue to show that you don’t need a big budget to make a brilliant genre-altering film.