Oh boy. Look… Between being best friends with Meredith and being raised by a hippie that referred to Jim Morrison as my father, I know weird when I see it. And subsequently, the bar is high af. Something has to be purely and truly unsettling for it rustle these jimmies. Case in point; I think period blood (perhaps all body fluid) is a valid medium for visual art, Mum says I used to dig up dead birds and befriend them like teddy bears, and for one month in 2010 I’d only eat yellow food and wouldn’t explain to anyone why. So, trust me when I say that Creep (2014) and Creep 2 (2017) are deeply, deeply fucking weird.
Honestly, I don’t know where to start… As I think of the best way to ‘review’ these films, I have to consider that the less you know about them, the better your viewing experience will be. With that in mind, I’ll keep this short. Honestly the Second, I think I just need to vent a little about the films and like, urge you to watch them, rather than actually write a proper review. Idk. Indulge me.
So, meet Aaron, a genuinely sweet guy that answers a weird (weird count: 1) Craigslist (count: 2) ad asking for a videographer. For the sake of earning dem sweet dollar dollar bills ya’ll, he drives into the middle of fucking nowhere (count: 3) and meets up with Josef (count: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and so on all the way to infinity, no returns). Josef’s explanation for needing a videographer for the day is bittersweet, and Aaron agrees, undoubtedly pressured by the social norm of not being a rude, heartless cunt.
That’s it. That’s the plot. We follow Aaron’s shaky camerawork (faith in found footage restored!!1!!1) as it documents the ‘typical’ day of Josef, a man that rides the terrifying line between ‘sad harmless loner that is literally Creep by Radiohead personified’ and ‘deranged dangerous loner that is literally Creep by Radiohead personified.’ You know what, I shouldn’t joke so much about that. Aren’t they suing Lana Del Rey for an unapproved reference or some money-grabbing bullshit?
It isn’t even worth discussing ~~all the film technique stuff~~ because it’s just not the point of the films. Written by Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass, and directed by Brice, this was an exercise in self-indulgent art and the reward is actual genius imo. There’s no audience-pandering clichés or cop-outs, no shitty jump scares, no gratuitous torture porn. Though Brice takes on the role of Aaron with minimal effect, again, it simply doesn’t matter – it’s not the point. It is all about Duplass’ absolutely, off the fucking rails, superbly crafted Josef that makes Creep what is it; a fully improvised (at least, the first is) dope trip into a world of a man, his wolf mask, and a whole load of unsettling insanity.
Obviously, the fact that there is a sequel that follows directly on from the 2014 instalment suggests that at least one of our protagonists has more story to tell. (Knowing that doesn’t spoil much. If anything, it’s as exciting as knowing there’s a third in the works.) If you ask a majority of film reviewers online, they’ll cite Creep 2 as being the better of the duo, which bodes well for part 3. I agree that 2 is definitely more thought through and far more thought-provoking, and that Sara is a fully realised character, unlike Aaron, but the shock of finding something truly freaky deaky means I’ll always have a spesh spot for Creep in my heart. Fingers crossed 3 will be just as bleak, telling, and… weird.
It is hard to pigeonhole Creep and Creep 2 into one genre. Thriller works, but it’s more than just a thrill ride. Horror, maybe part 1, but it has too much depth and stillness for horror alone. Black comedy, for sure; you’d be surprised at what provokes a sinister smirk on your own face. A psychological black horror/thriller comedy? Even then, even that specific, it’s not even in the ballpark. It is its own little slice of cinema heaven.
Creep and Creep 2 are both (thankfully) creepy, dynamic and entirely fre$$$h as fuck. The original has a RottenTomatoes rating of 96% and the sequel 100%, for God’s sake, ya know? Josef is easily one of the most original and authentic characters I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in a long, long time. The premise is terrifyingly plausible and both films show good judgement in pacing and editing.
Nevermind music festivals, gym memberships, and hopeless resolutions – kick 2018 off the right way. Get your skin crawling, your heart racing, and your nervous laughter started. Watch Creep and Creep 2, then send me a ‘thank you’ note in the mail.