Friday, 17 July 2015

Review: Creep

Year: 2014 (UK Release: 2015)
Director: Patrick Brice
Screenplay: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass

Synopsis is here:

The most terrifying thing about Creep is not only how it melds horror tropes into elements that feel way too plausible for their own good. It's the revealing way that it uses masculinity and empathy to its own twisted ends. The film doesn't just find a simple way around its found footage aesthetic, but also crafts a chilling narrative around some of the worse male traits. It's difficult to say more without effectively dismantling the film. It is safe to say that Creep manages to bottle some of those queasy, deceptively aggressive traits that often infiltrate young men.

The first young man; cash strapped, videographer, Arron (Brice), decides to take a Craiglist ad and work for Joesef (Duplass), who wishes to be filmed in a series of videos for his unborn son as his dying wish a la My Life (1993). Simple enough. But Joesef comes off as a little off key and not just in the unconventional spelling of his name. Odd events start off slowly, but as the day goes on, the unease builds. What’s strange is that as odd as Josepf gets, Arron keeps filming. Yes, he’s getting paid handsomely, but there seems to be more to it than that. Is there a connection? If so, do either wish to delve further into the dark?

The impulsive and imbalanced feelings of companionship is something that Mark Duplass has been familiar with since his early mumblecore days (The Puffy Chair, Baghead). Yet here he mixes in that same sense of unease that came with Black Rock (which he co-wrote). A tension which hides behind the somewhat familiar.

Strangely, here with Creep, Duplass feels similar to the likes of Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love. Whereas Sandler subverts his man child aspects, Duplass toys with his outward charming persona to somewhat sinister effect. From the particular wording that his character uses, to the dead eyed gaze that he pulls off a tad too easily. This is all wrapped in his hey buddy charm. Much like someone chipped away at the last bits of decent at his Everyman role from his character in sitcom The League. Despite that character being a douchebag to his friends, at least you'd feel comfortable with him taking a whiskey. Brice gives us the weaker performance, but his simple direction of the narrative combined with Duplass’ oddness helps distract from the film's largest flaw.

The final moments are as compelling as they are terrifying. As the film comments on something that feels closer to home as the earth grows smaller and angrier. It questions our empathy. It's an ending that feels OTT and unbelievable at first, but grows the more it is considered. A character asks a question that an audience member is likely to ask. But the answer to the question and the power of Creep lies much in same reason why all the coverage needs to be shot. We believe we're going to get something good out of this.