June 23, 2015
Patrick Brice as Aaron
Mark Duplass as Josef
What we need more of in today’s scene is high caliber found footage. Not because there’s a dearth of found footage, that is most certainly not the case. There is however a serious lack of truly high quality handy-cam films available. For every 20 we see released, one may actually shine. It seems filmmakers have turned to the sub-genre believing it to be the “easiest” (there’s no such thing, to be entirely honest) form of celluloid to tackle, and as a result we’ve seen a slew of mediocre, or even downright dreadful (here’s looking at you,Slender Man) pictures released in recent years. And in all honesty, that’s exactly what I anticipated from Patrick Brice’s (who writes, directs and stars) low budget affair, Creep. Fortunately for followers of the genre and dedicated found footage fans, Creep is anything but mediocre, it’s absolutely genius.
The story is wildly simple. So simple in fact, it could have easily gone all wrong for Brice. Brice plays Aaron, the man behind the camera who takes a job filming Josef, a 40-something who makes it known that he’s going to die. He’s got an inoperable brain tumor… and his wife is pregnant. His son will never know him, but he’d like to leave something behind, so the idea is that his everyday lifestyle will be captured on film so that his son – later in life – can watch that footage and get a feel for exactly who his father was. It’s a heart-warming concept, but there’s a whole lot more to it, as you no doubt foresaw. Josef isn’t all that he seems, and his motivation for hiring Aaron isn’t exactly all that he’s disclosed. As time passes and the two get to know each other, Aaron sees things taking a strange and unexpected turn.
Simple, right? Indeed, but the manner in which Brice handles the story is seamless. This one runs so smoothly that it is truly mind blowing. Any improbabilities are explained away in believable fashion, the setup doesn’t feel contrived in the least bit. More enticing is the fact that both primary characters are extremely likable. Josef is no doubt a bit of a weirdo, but his story feels so genuine that disliking him becomes an impossibility, and Aaron’s journey, while very different for a number of reasons, is quite engaging. These two play off of each other in a special way that isn’t typically caught on film. Mark Duplass’ portrayal of Josef is very, very disquieting – it’s also extremely diverse as the surging thespian is assigned the task of running the emotional gamut. He’s a good guy, he’s a bad guy – he’s a sympathetic guy, all the while very menacing in a quiet manner. And Brice is extremely convincing as the camera man who finds himself in the very wrong place at the right time.
If you value character development and thorough examination, you’re going to adore this film. If black humor tickles your fancy, you’re going to adore this film. It’s admittedly very light on the action, and there’s damn near nothing in the way of gore or offensive violence. It’s all about human beings and their idiosyncrasies and strange habits, mannerisms and motivations. But it’s important to not misconstrue what I’m saying: despite a lack of action Creep isn’t a boring picture in any way shape or form. It’s very entertaining and there’s a magnetic quality that’s going to steal a lot of hearts (especially those who prefer found footage features). If you’re not already a fan of Duplass’ work (he’s great in The Lazarus Effect, for the record), you will be after this film. And seeing the final product that Brice delivers ensures that he’s a new face in the business that you should be watching out for. While The Gallows – unquestionably the most hyped found footage film to see release in 2015 – seems to have audiences split down the middle, Creep emerges as a clear-cut silent winner. There’s only one side of the fence for this one, and it’s a damn fine side to see yourself on. Watch it, immediately, especially since it is currently available through Netflix’s streaming platform!