Don't answer Craiglist Ads.
Creep is a two handed horror thriller from first time director Patrick Brice with producer and actor Mark Duplass playing against him. The film has been created on a shoestring budget with seemingly a single camer, but the lack of finance has no impact on the thrills inside. Creep is the sort of film that makes you uncomfortable in your own home at night.
Creep follows videographer Aaron (Brice) as he answers a craiglist ad for someone to film for a day. The ad leads him to the off kilter Josef (Duplass) in thr mountains of California. Josef reveals that he wants to make a video diary of himself to give to his unborn son as he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. From the moment they meet, it is obvious something isnt right, but exactly what isnt clear.
Mark Duplass was born to play this character. He has the camera pointed at him for the majority of the film and displays equal parts ambivalence to his lack of tack and over eager enthusiasm for the interactions with his new friend. Duplass has shown his ability to play the straight faced oddball before, The One I Love and Safety Not Guaranteed both showed him dealing in subtlety for most of the film. Here he is eccentric and open and genuinely unnerving throughout. Patrick Brice spents most of the time with camera in hand, but his vocal work and occasional moments to camera are real. His emotional response bringing us into the tension.
The hand held, found footage horror film has been done to death since The Blair Witch Project, but Creep is able to rationalise it and use it to great effect. The shaky camera and ambient soundscape reflecting the realities of the situation and are stylistic rather than distracting. There is logic as to why Aaron would continue filming unlike so many other films in which the protagonist would have abandonned camera long ago. Creep feels real. If it wasnt for Mark Duplass being instantly recognisable and the plot progression having a definite narrative quality, I would call the cops.
Running under 90 minutes, Creep doesnt outstay its welcome. Leaving little fat with effective editing that allows the tension to build without boring. With only 2 players on screen and a beautiful but basic backdrop the film could easily bore, but as seen with Locke, a good story can trump all else.
Creep isnt for everyone, but i would suggest it to anyone with a taste for suspense and psychological horror. Mark Duplass steals the show and i am unsure how i can watch The League anymore, but ill try. Another low budget indie success and a film that should see Patrick Brice tasked with more in the future.