18 07 2015

CreepNear the midway point of Patrick Brice’s found footage horror flick “Creep,” a lingering shot on Mark Duplass’ Aaron yields a moment of intense vulnerability capped with the line, “If I got to know you before you got to know me, I thought I would be less scared.” It’s one of the most incisive lines uttered on screen in recent memory, quickly alerting any smart viewer that this is far more than a standard-issue scare.

“Creep” is astutely attuned to the terror of the new generation of overzealous Internet commenters and predators, and Brice beats Lifetime to the punch on the concept.  (Just wait for it, we’ll see “The Tinder Killer” in no time at all.)  Duplass stars as Josef, a man who claims his life will soon be cut short by a malignant brain tumor and thus seeks a videographer to film some footage for the son he will leave behind.  In need of some cash, unwitting Aaron (played by Brice) answers the Internet posting and comes to Josef’s cabin to help.

Little does Aaron know that Josef is the kind of fanatical weirdo that makes every girl regret that swipe right on Tinder.  He has little regard for the personal space or feelings of others, constantly making ill-advised practical jokes and comments that make Aaron extremely uncomfortable.  Tellingly, Josef finds a kindred spirit in the wolf, a creature that he sees as loving deeply but also dangerously out of an undeveloped social instinct.

“Creep” proves so terrifying because Josef is not a pathologically ill menace, seeking to exact harm due to an unexplained chemical imbalance or traumatic childhood experience.  Our screen-addled, intimacy-phobic culture bred him.  It hardly seems like a coincidence that in the back half of the film, Josef delivers his threats to Aaron in a video message for playback on a DVD player.  Even when talking life and death, he feels safer behind the remove of a screen.

Unfortunately, Brice gives in far too often to the easy temptation of the jump out scare, but “Creep” nonetheless lingers in the memory with its chilling message.  Perhaps with the help of availability on Netflix’s streaming service, this film could become the next “Catfish,” only without any qualms over the blurry line between fiction and reality which plague that documentary.  “Creep,” wholly fictional, only has to stay true to its concept and internal logic – two things Brice pulls off expertly.  B+ / 3stars

Random Factoid #425

26 09 2010

Dear iTunes,

Please get the Scala and Kolacny Brothers cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” ASAP.  Listening to it on YouTube is no way to do it, especially when you are doing it on your iPhone while driving and picking up any WiFi networks stop the song.  Please put it up either on “The Social Network” soundtrack or with the album that it was originally released on.  Every day I see this, my heart breaks a little more.


P.S. – Speaking of “The Social Network,” thank you Trent Raznor for the five-track sampler.  It is truly heavenly.