If Creep taught me anything, it is that to make a truly disturbing horror movie sometimes all you need is a camera, two actors and a cheap looking werewolf mask. Written by and starring Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice, Creep is brilliant slice of low – fi filmmaking that actively integrates it’s found footage form into the narrative rather than doing it because it is cheap. Duplass plays a character with cancer who hires a cameraman to film him for a day in order to provide a video diary for his unborn child, meeting at Duplass’s isolated cabin in the woods. However as Patrick Brice’s character films his subject and follows his requests – including bath time and searching for regenerative hot springs – video diaries soon turn into confessionals and events quickly escalate into weirdness, unpleasantness and downright terror.
For a film shot on such a low budget sustained purely on performances the film’s success or failing would have always rested on Duplass’s ‘creep’ character, who delivers and more with an abnormally wacky performances masking undertones of mental illness. In a shocking bi – polar performances with shades of the charming sadism of Kevin Howarth (The Last Horror Movie) and passive aggression of Kathy Bates (Misery), its impressive how much of a foreboding atmosphere is created with such basic elements – two guys talking and camera. When the synonymous horror mask ‘Peachfuzz’ is first introduced and a secret call to Duplass’s characters sister confirms Patrick Brice’s cameraman’s worst fears, you just want Brice’s character to hightail away from the situation at breakneck speed.
While Creep follows a fairly predictable plot progression and the characters themselves are fairly typed, the most impressive element of the film is how much ‘horror’ can be drawn from such basic elements, especially as the script was apparently improvised from a 10 page synopsis making the lead performances all the more impressive. If you have ever been in a situation where you have found yourself at a stranger’s house, out of your depth and trapped by etiquette, Creep takes this experience and gives it a nightmarish twist that is not only frightening but believably grounded in reality. For a film that I took up almost by accident at Frightfest 2014, it ended up being my favorite of the whole festival as a shining example of indie filmmaking, hilariously putting the larger studio horrors to shame. I eagerly await to see what Duplass and Brice come up with next and the idea of ‘Peachfuzz’ giving me a visit at night will tamper with my dreams for the irrevocable future.
Director: Patrick Brice
Cast: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
Runtime: 81 mins