Directed by Patrick Brice
Written by Patrick Brice & Mark Duplass
Found footage horror films have run their course, at least with me. The success of the Paranormal Activity films from producer Jason Blum are still raking in the dough and the trend does not seem to be slowing down. I am tired of the grainy, creepy scenery and cheap, to terrible acting. The V/H/S films I enjoyed because of the different shorts, but the more I think about it, that handheld footage is just annoying. I like film. These simple stories of creaking doors and unearthly apparitions are just becoming boring. Blum has produced a new film tittled Creep from director/co-writer/co-star Patrick Brice and co-writer/co-star Mark Duplass, and even though this is a little bit different and has some devilishly good acting and comedy, it is still has that annoying handheld, found footage film aesthetic and enough is enough. I know the handheld camera work goes along with story and at least it is grounded in realism instead of ghosts and spirits, but it really does not do much for me anymore. The trend is getting old.
Aaron (Patrick Brice), a videographer and in need of some work, answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job. Josef (Mark Duplass) wants the videographer to film him for an entire day. This turns into something more than just an easy gig for a swift $1000. Aaron goes to a remote town and we are introduced to Josef, who is an eccentric and a prankster. They begin filming in uncomfortable situations: in the tub, on a long exhausting hike, at a pancake house and over a late night drink at in Josef's empty house. All these situations are very disturbing, but somewhat humorous in that creepy way. Aaron realizes that Josef is extremely unbalanced and after spending the entire day with him, Aaron is desperate to get out of there. This is only the beginning of what is to become. An eerie dive into the creepy psychosis of an unstable creep.
The thing that works well in Creep is that it is not delivered as a straight-on horror or thriller film. The comedy given from Duplass and Brice works, and their good working relationship is evident throughout. This part of the film is what I liked. It is not perfect, but the comedy mixed with the unsettling scenes of fear and anxiety, made it something worth watching. Duplass and Brice are the only actors in the film. The acting from Duplass, who is always great, is perfect. He is so crazy in this film and always brings that element of "creepiness" and comedy. The components of a battled, dysfunctional psychosis that exists with Josef is quite well written and delivered. It is nothing too deep, but works with the wonderful performance from Duplass. He slowly dives into the dementia of what initially appears to be a sane man, but is definitely not. Brice, who does a fine job in front of camera and behind it, also is funny as hell. The scenes where he is sent multiple packages from Josef to his home is fine work, and extremely eerie and hilarious.
The biggest problem I have with this film is that shaky, annoying handheld, found footage camera work. Enough already. I know the films whole premise is based on a videographer. So, his camera work and that point of view is what the film is going to use, but I am just tired enough. I am turned off by it. I find it distracting, lacking in creativity and flat-out boring. I like the way film and digital look. The textures and lighting. The grainy look is old already to me. I also had a problem with the ending. Not so much how it ended but the fact that someone should have been more cautious and aware of his surroundings. I will not give anything away, but come on.
If Blum and Brice can sell this film as a thriller-comedy I think it will find a decent audience. I am sure it will be sold as a straight on found footage horror film and that might sell more tickets, but the audience will either be disappointed or surprised by what they get. All-in-all, Creep is just another average film in this over bloated genre. I did like the acting very much and the comedy, mixed in with the thrills worked well, but I cannot, and will not, get over the distraction of the shaky, terrible handheld camera usage. Enough already. I recommend watching this film simply for the performances from both actors, but especially Duplass. He is great in this film.
Photo credit by indiewire.com.