Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Creep (2014): Found Footage Done Creepy

Creep (2014)
dir: Patrick Brice

SIFF 2014 Film #27

This year's SIFF proves that Found Footage horror is still going strong. After the success of V/H/S, we're starting to see a revitalization of the genre (despite what the producers of Beneath discovered). Creep is the best of the ones I saw this year, which took the same approach to the rules of found footage as Willow Creek, but didn't resort to redoing a well-worn plot line. Instead, Creep is original and founded in modern day fears, like Catfish. In fact, much like Catfish and the earlier The Signal, Creep is asking what happens when you respond to a stranger.

Patrick Brice stars as Aaron, an amateur videographer who responds to an ad from Josef, a guy who wants to make a My Life style video for his kid. Josef's dying of cancer, and he has a kid on the way, but he only has a few months to live and doesn't believe that he will see the kid being born. But, Josef starts out the film disarmingly and disconcertingly positive and just gets creepier from there.

Did I mention that it's a black horror comedy? Mark Duplass as Josef just gets creepier and creepier with his broadly grinning mug, as Patrick Brice just keeps trusting way too much. From the first scene that Josef wants filmed, where he strips naked and gets in the tub to have "tubby time" with his not-yet-born son, you just want Aaron to get the fuck out of there. This guy is weird. But, at the same time, he could just be a really weird guy who doesn't know social norms. Is he a creeper? Will he kill Aaron? Drug him or other things? Or, is he just overly strange without knowing typical limits.

The number of times that Josef freaks Aaron out in the opening sequences as a joke puts the audience at unease from the get go, but at the same time he's hilarious and charming. And, it's Duplass' acting that sells the whole movie. Most of the audience has probably met the weirdo character that Josef is playing. Maybe he wants to sell a mattress. Maybe he asked you on a date on OK Cupid or Grindr or whatever. Maybe he works at your movie theater. Maybe he's a Steve Buscemi character. Creep plays on our trust that people are good at heart, even if they're creeping us the fuck out, as long as they don't hurt us. Without Duplass' winning grin, the movie would probably fall apart like so many houses of cards.

Duplass and Brice stripped the found footage genre to the barest minimum. All music is in scene. All sound it in scene. There is only the one video camera used (though, one shot does seem rather without cause, and it bugged the shit out of me). You may be annoyed at Aaron for going along with Josef as far as he does, but these characters aren't out to ANNOY you. Even Josef is a winning character who is just intended to creep you the fuck out.

With a bullet-train short running time of 82 minutes, Creep will hit you like a ton of bricks. This is a movie that constantly sets you on edge, even if you're laughing your way through it. It's completely playful approach to the horror genre makes Creep genuinely well...creepy. This is a blast of a movie, and I wish it well in it's journey. Because, it's an amazing ride.

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