(TBC) Running time: 94 minutes
Director: Matthew Gunnoe
Writer: Matthew Gunnoe
Cast: Darryl Baldwin, Monica Chambers, Rohnja Morrow, Amber Sym, Brittney Cardella
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish
Matthew Gunnoe is an extreme horror director who you may not have heard of yet, but on the strengths of his latest film Creeper, you may well get to know him a lot better over the next few years. Up and coming directors need to build a reputation these days, and many of them are making films on a shoestring budget and making the best out of the limited resources they have. Gunnoe is one of those directors, making extreme films for horror fans with a taste for the nastier, darker side of horror, on a small budget, and doing interesting things with some cool ideas. His latest tale of sexualised violence, revenge and all the horrible stuff in-between is Creeper, a film not for the faint hearted or easily offended, but a film which lovers of extreme cinema will find hugely satisfying.
A “Creeper” is an Internet pervert who prowls dating websites in order to get sexual kicks, which can often lead to much worse things. Two girls are sick of these perverted men getting sexual thrills on these dating sites, and decide to turn the tables and do some Internet ‘bullying’ themselves. They search dating websites for a worthy victim, and they find Jerry Tobin (Baldwin), the perfect man to vent their anger at, tease and play games with. Looking like a serial killer in his dating website photo, you just know things are going to go bad, but the girls are blind with hatred and anger, and play their warped games with Jerry regardless. The two girls become four and they make contact with Jerry and begin their cruel games, with Jerry totally unaware they are taunting and teasing him. Offering Jerry stripteases in return for him doing weirder and weirder acts (dressing up in women’s clothes, shaving himself, whipping his own back, using a police taser gun on numerous parts of his body), Jerry falls for it and genuinely believes they want to be his friends. Watching this hulking brute of a man embarrass himself with the promise of gratuitous nudity from the girls is tough to watch, and flaunts the dangers and sometimes depravity of Internet dating websites, and the lengths people will go to to find a friend or for sexual thrills. It is uncomfortable and quite sad to watch the events unfold.
These girls are all incredibly sexy, and while the sexual teasing and stripping from them is all very nice to watch, it is hard to get away from the fact that they are not at all nice. They are hell-bent on revenge against Internet perverts, and while at first you will side with them, there does become a point where you will feel they have taken things too far. We also learn that Jerry has mental health issues, and is on medication to keep him from losing his mind. This too will have you feeling sorry for this lonely man who is desperate for some female company. However, his childlike mind soon cracks, and Gunnoe turns the tables for a violent, revenge fuelled finale which cranks up the nasty stuff as Jerry makes his own plans to get the girls back.
Gunnoe directs Creeper with a very cool ‘Grindhouse’ feel, with the film looking worn and damaged, but in a good way. If you remember the dirty filming style of Robert Rodriguez’ Planet Terror, then you will have a good idea of how Gunnoe presents his film here. Creeper looks authentic, and has a strong old school feel, and the simplicity of the story and events means you can sit back and enjoy the film for what it is: a revenge thriller that twists and turns, leaving you asking yourself just who is the victim here, if anyone. The film cleverly warns viewers about the dangers of Internet dating, and hints at the kind of people who could be out their prowling these sites for their own twisted means. It is a worrying observation on how the Internet is open to lots of dangers from those who are slightly unhinged, and Gunnoe makes no apology for showing us how badly these issues may turn out. The violence which comes later is calculated and cruel, but directed with a sincere ambition to push things as far as possible with what resources Gunnoe had available. He cleverly shoots his violence to hide the budget restraints, but manages to not hold back on shedding blood. Granted some of the action scenes are a little awkward in places, but that is forgivable for a director in such an early stage of his career, and you will certainly see the intent is there to get the scenes as spot on as possible. He also shoots in a small number of locations, with the entire second half taking place in open countryside, and this was a smart move also. Gunnoe knew his limitations, and he never allows ambition to get in the way, and keeps things minimal and precise so that the film never loses its strengths.
The score is also worth noting for its creepy, atmospheric build up and clever creation of menace. The score alone will put you on edge, and brilliantly builds tension when it is needed. Gunnoe also shows us he is a real horror fan himself with a very clever nod to David Fincher’s Seven during the films finale. What Gunnoe also shows us is that he is a fan of women, and while he has managed to cast some truly gorgeous girls for his film, he happily flaunts their good looks as much as possible. It is very clear that on his list of things to use for the film, girls clothes was not one of them! Any budget issues for the film were most definitely NOT due to spending out on clothing for the girls here. They spend the majority of the film in bikinis, or simply naked as the day they were born, and it is very pleasing on the eye! During Jerry’s game of revenge, the girls are all naked, and are simply given a t-shirt with the words “my friends” written on them as they run about in the woods, or splash about in the river. If you enjoy watching the female form on screen, then look no further!
Now, while the events unfold in a way that becomes quite ridiculous, you can’t help but admire Gunnoe’s desire to really go for it and not become too clichéd. This is a revenge flick, and Gunnoe wants to see revenge and violence, and he delivers that for us in spades. Anyone who got kicks out of watching films like I Spit on Your Grave will find much to enjoy here, and those who simply enjoy watching gorgeous girls running around with hardly any clothes on will be very satisfied indeed. Gunnoe flaunts the films good stuff, and he clearly knows exactly the kind of audience he is aiming this film at. When this film does get a proper release, it should get this director noticed by those that matter, and I predict we will be seeing bigger and better things from this director in the near future. This is a film made for extreme horror fans by a horror fan who knows his target market, and given the opportunity and budget in the future, he will reward his fans with some great horror flicks. For now though, just remember the name Matthew Gunnoe, and be on the lookout for his films if you like your horror sexy and brutal. Creeper is a simple, raw and uncompromising revenge flick that deserves attention.