Directed by Patrick Brice
I’m going to be completely honest and tell you that 2014’s Creep didn’t do all that much for me. Were I to rate it, I would’ve given it 3 out of 5 stars. That being said, I fully understand why so many people adore it. By evolving found footage, Creep managed to do something new with the genre. Plus, it gave us the strangely eerie Peachfuzz, so there’s that.
For many, the reveal that a sequel was made and would be released was a gift from the horror gods. Having seen the movie last night at the Telluride Horror Show, I can state with certainty and confidence that your hopes will not be dashed, your dreams will not be crushed, and your wishes have most assuredly been granted. Creep 2 is a sequel that takes everything you loved about the original and ramped them up to 11.
The film opens with a young Indian man getting a box that includes a strange hidden camera as well as a DVD that has the words “Watch Me” written on it. While playing it, Aaron (Duplass) shows up, and after an awkwardly intimate scene, it’s obvious that Aaron is delighting in stalking his prey. However, after taking down his victim, Aaron seems unable to find joy in his “accomplishment,” leading him to wonder if he can ever take pleasure in his “profession.”
Enter Sara (Akhavan), a young filmmaker who is trying to launch a YouTube career by purposefully meeting with men who post strange personal ads on Craigslist. The lack of views and her own self-doubting personality lead her to think this may not be the path for her. But when she spots Aaron’s ad, she decides to give her show another chance, one last time. When the two meet, we find that Aaron has decided to bare his soul to Sara, revealing his true nature from the onset. The purpose of this? Because he trusts her to make a documentary about him and his works in the hopes that it will rekindle his passion. Desperate to create something incredible, Sara ignores all the red flags that are raised and agrees to his offer.
I’m not going to spoil anything more from the film because to do so would take away from the joy of seeing it unfold in front of you. What I will tell you is that Duplass has never been more terrifying, yet undeniably charming. We are armed with the curse of knowledge that his admissions are 100% true, something Sara doesn’t have and isn’t willing to accept. As a result, every scene where he’s on the edge of breaking, his true nature spilling out, is met with razor-edge tension. Yet, through this understanding that Sara’s life is hanging by a thread is this strange dynamic that is building between the two that is almost an understanding. Sara’s willingness to dive into the world of men and their strange wants/hobbies/perversions/etc., extends to Aaron, which means we see her teeter on the edge of his insanity, his manipulations.
For a good portion of the film, there’s a strange feeling where Sara’s presence and persistence are having a strange effect on their relationship. Could she be changing Aaron, or in a sociopathic manipulation performance for the ages, could Aaron be turning her into something she never knew she was, bringing out parts of her that she didn’t realize she had buried?
As mentioned above, Duplass’ performance is nothing short of brilliant. He has an ability to shift from awkward to charming to terrifying and back to hilarious within the same scene, often within a single sentence. Akhavan plays Sara very close to the chest, rarely revealing her emotions or allowing herself to overly express what’s going on in her mind. This restraint means that when she does burst, it has all the more impact. There’s one scene after Aaron does something shocking that pushes her into action where he tries to explain what’s going on. The expression on her face barely changes, and yet, so much emotion is conveyed through her eyes alone. It’s truly masterful, and I was quite simply floored by the subtlety at play.
If one were to try and describe Creep 2, calling it a “horror-comedy” would be perhaps one of the most accurate descriptions possible. In fact, I’d contend that Creep 2 is the best horror-comedy since Evil Dead II, expertly blending both genres and knowing full well when to utilize one over the other while never, ever forgetting that its foundation is purely rooted in the former.
Creep 2 is the kind of movie that makes you excited to share it with others. The oft-used cliché “roller coaster of a ride” is simply the most precise way to describe the film. From impeccably timed comedy to white-knuckle, anxiety-inducing tension, Creep 2 delivers all the goods.