Creep (2013) [REVIEW] [SXSW ’14]

So glad that they finally made a movie out of my favorite TLC song! Hahahaha, that’s hilarious. Okay, probably not, and I apologize to anyone who already heard me make that joke. Let it be known that Creep has nothing to do with T Boz, Chili, or Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez. I didn’t know much about the movie going into it, except that it starred Mark Duplass, who normally plays kind of a goofball. Guys, did you know you cast a goofball in this horror movie?! How could that possibly work?! It works because it’s not your average horror movie. In fact, some could make the argument that it’s a comedy. My opinion is that it’s both and it was one of the most entertaining and surprising films of SXSW.

After accepting an offer from Craigslist, Aaron (Patrick Brice) drives to the house of  someone offering him $1,000 to film him for the day. When Aaron meets Josef (Duplass), he explains that he has cancer and wants to film a regular day in his life to show his unborn child. Josef starts making strange requests of what he wants filmed, from bath time to an exploratory hike in the woods for a healing pool to admitting their biggest regrets, but knowing it just lasts the day makes Aaron okay with things. As night falls, Josef’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, and things take a dangerous turn when parts of Josef’s story doesn’t check out. Turns out that Josef is just a big old creep and I’m thinking that’s where the name of the movie came from.

Holy shit, how big of a fucking creep is Mark Duplass in this movie? A huge fucking creep! He’s not just some insane guy right off the bat, he’s actually a very relatable character. We’ve all met someone with a good demeanor but has an awkward sense of humor and maybe shares a little too much information, but we can generally walk away from these people. Duplass had claimed the origins of this movie came from a story involving accepting an offer on Craigslist to help a guy build some IKEA furniture that turned into an hours long therapy session, and this film served as more of a “What if?” for those creepy offers. The film was almost completely improvised, which just shows how talented Duplass is both as a performer and in the ways he guides the movie forward. Although he might not be physically intimidating, the horror hits you in a more grounded way.

What helped keep the audience engaged in this unraveling story was that the tone makes you keep guessing where this is all building up to. When Aaron first arrives at Josef’s, he sees an ax buried in a tree stump to give the audience the cliched sense of danger. Further into the film, when most of the audience has forgotten about the ax Josef asks Aaron if he though he was going to get murdered with an ax.  This helps ease both Aaron’s and the audience’s tension, only for Josef to the show Aaron something WAY creepier than just a dumb ax. Other sequences do the opposite, leading you to believe it’s a lighthearted sequence, only to have something terrifying come from out of nowhere. If you’re a fan of Duplass, I both recommend checking this movie out and steering as far away from it as you can, because you’ll both be surprised at how creepy this goofball can be and you’ll have a tough time ever looking at him the same way again. Oh yeah, and there’s also a bunch of wolf references in there to really make it super cool.

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