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Creep: A Found Footage Horror Hybrid That Stands Out From its Peers

July 26, 2015

Creep movie poster

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The found footage world is a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly. For every Blair Witch and Troll Hunter we get hundreds of The Gallows and Devil’s Pass movies. Occasionally, a weird little film climbs its way out the found footage wasteland and distinguishes itself via an original story, all-in performances and creepy masks that look great in movie trailers.

Creep wolf mask Mark Duplass

Creep is a semi-improvisational horror hybrid about a camera man answering a Craigslist ad. He will be paid $1,000 to film a man’s final moments before cancer and a brain tumor kill him in a few months. The final product will go to his unborn child and will provide a glimpse into his daily life. Things go wrong (of course) but the direction of Creep is never predictable. The dark humor, paranoia and performance by Mark Duplass create an immensely watchable 80 minute horror hybrid.

What makes this film work is that it doesn’t seem to be a cash grab or more of the same. It fits perfectly alongside the original and proactive horror hybrids that have been hitting the theaters in the last couple years. Mark Duplass (The League, Safety Not Guaranteed) and director Patrick Brice started filming with a five-page outline and over the course of a year it evolved into a tight little thriller. Here is what Duplass had to say about it.

In the case of Creep, there was no stress at all. We never were attached to this movie being released. This was an arts and crafts experiment from the beginning. This was the most unprepared we’ve ever been going into a movie — or I’ve ever been — and we just put it together as we went. Then we promised ourselves, if it sucks we just won’t put it out there. So that was very freeing and stress-free. Where the stress does start to come in is when your movie starts testing well and you realize you do have something but it’s not quite there yet. Then you feel the responsibility to make it good, and that’s the point where we brought in Blumhouse as a partner and really employed our smart director friends to help us figure it out. That was a little stressful, but totally worth it.

Creep has a grounded realism that focuses on two very lonely people. One person resorts to answering craiglist ads for money while the other has obvious mental problems. Together they form a weird duo brought together by loneliness. Their day filming spirals into a controlled chaos in which clues are unraveled and the term “Chekhov’s axe” takes new meaning.

Creep doesn’t reinvent the found footage wheel but it doesn’t go flat either. The footage isn’t nausea inducing and the video diary brings an organic vibe to a man holding a camera for way too long. If you are a horror hound looking for blood and guts you will be disappointed but you might be inspired by the nature of the movie. It is a tiny little thing that is getting national press. It doesn’t feature CGI and the locations are scarce but it features a good idea and enough vision to get it in front of audiences.

If you are looking for inspiration and want to create something in the film world I totally recommend you watch this film. It is simple, smart and builds to a brutal conclusion. Let me know what you think when you watch it!

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