Creep (not to be mistaken with the 2004 horror with the same name, featuring a mash up of Gollum and Nosferatu) is a Blumhouse production and a found footage thriller from first time director Patrick Brice, that admirably serves its purpose in a swift running time of under 80 minutes. Yes, you heard me. A story in a film can successfully be told and an audience can be both entertained and chilled in that short amount of time, with no unnecessary fillers to make the movie longer. The term “less is more” is absolutely apparent in this film and it is executed brilliantly.
The plot is incredibly simple. Brice plays Aaron, the man behind the camera who has answered an advert on Craigslist – $1,000 to drive up to a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere and follow Josef (Mark Duplass) around for the day and film him going about his day. Now, if you’ve seen more than 5 horror films in your life, you’re probably thinking this sounds somewhat suspicious. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Almost as soon as seemingly naive and carefree Aaron arrives to the cabin, Josef’s aptly put “creepy” behaviour is evident from the get go. Josef goes on to explain some good and bad news – the good news is that his wife is expecting, however the bad news is he is dying of a terminal illness. The video footage Josef has requested Aaron film will later be viewed by his son as something his late father left behind. Initially it seems to be a heart-warming concept, however there’s undoubtedly a lot more to it than that.
As the plot moves on, Josef’s behaviour continues to grow more erratic and the little humour in the film gets more unusual – you may find yourself laughing nervously at some scenes. And don’t even get me started on Peachfuzz – I’ll leave that to you to find out what I mean. For a film with only two people featuring in it (three if you count a very brief voice on the other end of a phone), it still remains refreshingly different and interesting. Aaron’s character may aggravate you somewhat (or a lot – but hey, that’s a horror film for you) throughout the film, with you constantly asking questions about his impractical actions (or lack of) – especially why on earth he trusted a total stranger’s vague Craiglist’s ad in the first place, however Duplass’ enthusiasm and deranged performance make the entire thing seem eerily realistic. Having him stare at you into the camera while he’s talking or generally acting bizarrely is sure to get to you feeling uneasy and to shy away from looking at the screen at times. Despite the occasional jump scare, this film is incredibly dialogue heavy, however don’t be put off by that – the suspense flows nicely and keeps the viewer guessing what will happen next. The suspense continues to build up by the halfway mark of the film so much I personally was struggling to watch the film due to covering my face with my hand and peeking out of a gap in my fingers, also unable to shift the memory of the film later on.
As previously mentioned, this is a relatively short film but with the strong combination of unbearable tension paired with sitting on the edge of your seat in fear, this will seem a lot longer than a mere 80 minutes. It goes to show that even with a small budget and very limited resources for a minimalistic film, an incredibly simple concept can be delivered and executed with precision. With the announcement of this being the first in a trilogy, I am excited to find out what lengths they will go to in the next installment. The deeply unnerving Creep is available to watch on Netflix – my suggestion would be to turn the lights out for this one – oh, and always be wary if you ever attempt to make a new friend again.