Over the course of the year, I've been pretty vocal about my disappointment with found footage over the year. It seems that everyone is using the same old formula to absolutely no avail. Its pretty clear that most filmmakers are just using the device for easy cash. I have been pretty dissatisfied by films like "Area 51," "Unfriended" and "The Gallows" this year, and I thought the use of this device would never improve in any fashion.
I stumbled across "Creep" tonight, and while I was not totally jazzed by the idea of watching a found footage movie, I was a big fan of Mark Duplass. He's been in such films as "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Zero Dark Thirty," "The League," "Jeff, Who Lives At Home," and "Tammy." Last year, he was in one of my favorite movies of last year, "The One I Love" which was charming, weird and an all-around sensational experience. Duplass not only stars in the movie, but he wrote the script as well. Could he have created something that was worthwhile that used this tired device. The way everything was laid out, I knew this was going to be a horror film of some kind, I just didn't know how scary or how good it would end up being.
The throws you into the mess right away, as Aaron (Patrick Brice) is hired to do a job he found on Craigslist. The job is simple, just video tape the life of a man and not tell anyone about it. Seems simple enough, right? Seems like a quick way to make some money, right? Aaron meets Josef (Duplass) and while Josef has a weird sense of humor and a strange personality, Aaron is optimistic about what he's set to do. He also seems to put up with lots of Josef's shenanigans as Josef opens up to Aaron about surviving cancer, and wanting to make a video for his unborn son who may only know him from the following video being made by Aaron.
As you watch the movie, even as Aaron gets out of his car to the remote cabin Josef has invited him to, there something off about the whole thing. At the very back of your head, you know something terrible is about to happen, and you waiting patiently to see what it will be. While "Creep" works in the same vein as most found footage films to that end, this is a different kind of animal entirely, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Events unfold in a manner you think you can expect, but then there is a small left turn. "Creep" is a movie that wants you to think it will play by the usual rules of found footage horror, but then tweaks them a little bit, here and there. While I think the ending is a little to regular, it left me satisfied and I had a silly smile etched on my face afterward. Plus, Duplass has done a good job of making the audience obscenely confused by what genre this is supposed to be. Some horror films like "Re-Animator" and "The Howling" walk along the tight-rope of horror and comedy, and Duplass had a comedic upbringing. As events begin to unfold, you won't know whether you should laugh or throw-up.
"Creep" plays by some of the same rules that have defined the found footage genre, but overall I liked what I saw. Mark Duplass delivers another unforgettable performance as Josef and any actor who can garner sympathy playing a complete lunatic deserves some credit. He's a little menace in this movie, and he'll make you believe it all. I will also warn that "Creep" does have a couple boo scares that got me good, and by the end, it feels a little too ordinary, but I liked enough of what I saw. There was also so much unpredictability that I had fun along the ride. I dig the set up for possible future films, and I wish this movie got a larger opening compared to other crap like "Unfriended" and "The Gallows," which is quite possibly the best thing I can say about it.
FINAL GRADE: B