Creep 2 2017
A video artist looking for work drives to a remote house in the forest to meet a man claiming to be a serial killer. But after agreeing to spend the day with him, she soon realizes that she made a deadly mistake.
October 24, 2017
Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass
Karan Soni, Mark Duplass, and Desiree Akhavan
I had a lot of trepidation regarding Creep 2; it’s not because I didn’t like the first Creep, released in 2014—quite the contrary. Creep was a singularly unique experience, a deceptively simple horror movie that was more effective and disturbing than 99% of today’s modern genre offerings. It was a skillful affair, one that terrified for 90 minutes without a single shred of violence—until the film’s shocking climax. Sure, there was a little scuffle between Aaron (Patrick Brice) and Josef aka Peach Fuzz (Mark Duplass) at the end of Act 1, but Creep terrified because of the threat of violence—not the execution of it. Up until the axe actually drops, we’re hoping that all of our red-flags were overreactions; that Josef, while obviously troubled, is ultimately harmless—the kind of lonely, yet meek soul that creeps Craigslist, looking for love.
Considering the original film is built on the question of whether Josef is or isn’t a dangerous psychopath, how, I wondered, can a sequel possibly propel the mythologies forward? How can it possibly hold the same sway over its viewers when we know from the get-go, that Josef (now calling himself Aaron) is an unusually manipulative serial killer? Will it just be more of the same? A nice guy being stalked, terrorized with DVDs and stuffed animals until a sudden, bloody dispatch? Duplass screaming into the camera? Perhaps anticipating this inherent resistance, Brice (who directed 2014’s Creep and Creep 2) gives us exactly what we expect before the opening credits even roll. Here’s the things: Peach Fuzz is just as bored with the same-old-same-old as we are.
Official Synopsis: A video artist looking for work drives to a remote house in the forest to meet a man claiming to be a serial killer. But after agreeing to spend the day with him, she soon realizes that she made a deadly mistake.
Peach Fuzz is exactly who we remember him, but what makes Creep 2 an experience as unique as the original is the videographer: Sara (played by Desiree Akhavan). She’s as unusual and intriguing as Aaron/Josef, a unique character who’s completely genuine and full of surprises. It makes us realize that, as much as Peach Fuzz caused to the terror of 2014’s Creep, “Old Aaron” is just as responsible for the tragedy that unfolded. The Creep franchise is more than just an illustration of what a videographer will subject himself/herself to for a thousand bucks, it shows how we’re willing to overlook signs of serious danger for fear of being rude—for fear of abandoning someone in need. Old Aaron was like many of us; he sees the potential good in people, even if their actions speak to the contrary. He felt sorry for Josef, believed the fiend when he said he needed a friend, and he somehow held himself responsible for the situation that unfolded. While we empathize with him throughout, Creep 2 makes it clear: Old Aaron was a fool.
Sara is the X-Factor that makes Creep 2 extraordinary, and Akhavan’s performance matches Duplass’s at every turn. Describing her personality beyond the most basic stats would do viewers a disservice, as it’s getting to know her, wondering what makes her tick, putting ourselves in her shoes that makes this film astonishing. Needless to say, this isn’t your typical cat-and-mouse maneuvering. Just as the first Creep kept us rapt and off-kilter for its entire run, Creep 2 is impossible to predict—no matter who well we’ve studied its predecessor. Just as Duplass carried the weight of the first film, Akhavan is the backbone of Creep 2, and I can’t praise her performance enough.
Creep 2 makes a direct reference to Interview with a Vampire and the relationship between the monster and the journalist. The meta, docu-horror presentation is also reminiscent of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. These connections speak to the modern journalist’s desire to find a huge scoop—even at the risk of personal danger (not to mention the potential for culpability in future acts of violence). It’s another tendril of our society’s obsession with fame, our need for recognition and praise, and the mentality that insists: If it didn’t happen on film, it might as well not have happened at all. This need to see in order to believe is the same curiosity that killed the cat. Whether Sara will prevail when matching wits with Peach Fuzz is the question that keeps viewers rapt, engrossed, enthralled—and genuinely terrified.
Creep 2 is one of those rare sequels that’s just as good (if not better) than the original. It acknowledges what made the first film so successful, but in a way that shows reverence for the audience. Early on, the film promises to be something different than its predecessor, and it delivers in spades. We won’t be impressed with duplications of 2014’s jump-scares; that shit doesn’t impress us anymore and Brice and Duplass dug deep in order to give us a follow-up worthy of the original; the bring a new bag of tricks, and an ambitious scope.
Bottom Line: Brace yourself for an extended, unobstructed view of Mark Duplass’s dick—not to mention another uniquely terrifying experience. Creep 2 is equal, if not superior, to its predecessor; it stays true to the mythologies established in 2014 while adding genuinely creative and compelling innovations. Desiree Akhavan is a thespian of unusual talents and Peach Fuzz is on his way to becoming one of horror’s most elite, iconic villains.