The exciting world of freelancing and surfing on Craigslist can sometimes lead to some truly unsettling times. the kind of events that stick with you like the sound of nails hitting a blackboard or the feeling of being watched. Few horror movies can capture this unsettling vibe without resorting to cheap scare tactics, but Creep is not one of those movies.
Released in 2014, Creep is, essentially, a two-handed horror film about a freelancer who encounters a severely disturbed man. Even though Aaron only spends an afternoon with Josef, the events he witnesses in that lonely cabin are enough to change his life forever.
It’s a formula we’ve seen countless times in horror before, but Creep has enough talent working behind the scenes that this is more than just a spin-off genre film. Director Patrick Brice managed to create an intimate relationship between Aaron and Josef. Few directors can take a character who isn’t on screen for much of the movie and make them feel as real as Aaron does here.
Let’s go over some of the notable elements that make Creep a really scary movie that you might like to watch.
Creep is a comedy for horror fans
Mixing elements of comedy and horror is a favorite trick for many novice horror filmmakers. If all else fails to scare audiences, you can at least say the film was “more comedy than pure horror.” The thing with Creep is that the film excels in both genres equally most of the time.
While there’s some over-reliance on creepy jumps and scary beeps — most Blumhouse productions are, anyway — the film spends a good chunk of its runtime relying on the relationship between Aaron and Josef.
One reviewer noted that the film looks like a horror version of What about Bob? and frankly? That might be one of the most apt ways to describe this film. Director and co-writer Patrick Brice also stars as Aaron, the man behind the camera, while fellow director and co-writer Mark Duplass plays Josef, the charismatic psychopath.
Creep is full of those awkward, awkward moments that might scare you a little, but it’s the kind of awkwardness that makes you giggle. If I had to find a name for the type of comedy that Creep uses, I guess the better term would be “uncomfortable comedy”. It’s not the same as the cliched goofy jokes you hear in modern animated comedies – mainly because Creep is also a movie that gets really dark, really fast.
A plot to die for
CreepThe plot begins when Aaron agrees to document a day in the life of Josef, a very eccentric man who lives in an isolated cabin. After being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, Josef decided he wanted a videographer to capture what a day in his life looks like so he could leave the footage to his unborn son.
This is where Aaron comes in. As a struggling videographer, he can hardly say no to Josef’s proposal. However, as the man’s behavior grows increasingly creepy, Aaron decides that maybe the money isn’t really worth spending a day with a complete lunatic.
Let’s not get too into spoiler territory here, because what follows is worth seeing to be believed. Suffice it to say that most of what Josef told Aaron isn’t true, and what is real is a much more disturbing reality that could mean Aaron was ensnared by one of deadliest psychopaths ever seen on screen.
Being trapped with a madman is something that has been explored in other horror movies before. Brice mentioned that one of his biggest inspirations when crafting the plot of Creep belonged to Stephen King Misery — but this movie goes deeper than the initial feeling of claustrophobia that comes with Stephen King’s classic.
By the end of the film, it feels like Aaron is truly at the mercy of Josef’s whims. It’s just another layer in the horror cake that is Creep that makes it such an effective thriller: it deals with a feeling that many of us have had to deal with at some point. The chains and the lone shack may be there just to spice up the horror atmosphere, but the feeling of being completely under anyone’s demands is something that’s happened to anyone who’s ever had a job. This goes double for freelance videographers.
The good start for a promising saga
If there’s one thing Blumhouse has done well over the past decade, it’d be turning brilliant indie films into unexpected franchises. Even though it seemed Creep could have been an overnight sensation that needed no real continuation, in 2017, creep 2 proved everyone wrong.
With fifty percent of the characters from the first film gone, it would be difficult to film Creep serial. That is why creep 2 goes in a radically new direction – for the most part. As for the basics that made the original movie such a hit with horror fans, the unnerving charm of Creep has been further refined in this shocking sequel.
According to reviewers, Creep 2 is an even stronger piece than its predecessor, earning near-perfect scores on many review aggregating sites. Essentially, the sequel took what fans loved about the original and then expanded it to eleven. Creep 2 offers the same unsettling creepiness, but this time around it does so by appealing to a different audience, offering an insightful look at a generation that thrives on voyeurism.
Talking points like fascination with the macabre and obsession with exciting material for viral content creators are some of the themes that creep 2 morbidly explores, culminating in a film that, like its predecessor, is destined to become a defining example of this generation’s horror sensibilities.
Looking (not so) sharp
Both movies were released on Netflix for an international market, and that’s where we find yet another quirk about the two films: they don’t stand out from their peers in terms of cinematography or even technical accomplishments.
A little like paranormal activity and A man bites a dog in front of them, Creep the films put their seemingly cheap looks to good use, making the horrors seen on screen feel much more authentic. It’s like you’re watching something you shouldn’t be watching, like stumbling across those old recordings in an abandoned lot.
The lack of flashy special effects and over-the-top cinematography lends Creep and creep 2 that sense of authenticity that horror fans have been looking for since the Blair Witch Project reinvigorated the found footage genre all those years ago.
Creep certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to horror tropes – some fans might even have a problem with the movie’s abrupt ending. Yet it manages to do what few horror franchises can still do: it makes us deeply uncomfortable on a personal level. Maybe it’s because everyone knows a Josef in their life and, deep down, we all fear this inexplicably disturbing creep.