What is it all about?
A video artist quickly realizes she has made a mistake when she meets a serial killer in a cabin.
Sometimes the perfect bogeyman doesn’t need to wear a scary mask and make silly phone calls, he can just be a normal man in the street. That guy who looks charming and kind, who smiles at you each day as you walk past. Mark Duplass has perhaps created the most perfect of character, that is so damn creepy -excuse the pun- that its a criminal shame that mainstream horror fans do not even know he exists.
Creep which was released in 2014 has grown into a delicious cult hit, a film I reviewed here on HCF to a near perfect rating. I sat down to watch this long awaited sequel, excited but also nervous as no matter how much you loved the original, its success was down to the fact that we didn’t know what Joesf was doing or capable of. Once we got to the gruelling and sickening finale, we knew exactly what kind of man he was, so with the surprise now out of the bag, how is it possible to get that same level of tension for a second round.
To be fair to Duplass and his director/co-writer Patrick Brice, they waste no time introducing us back into the world of Joesf who is now calling himself Aaron as the first five minutes, echoes the creepiness that the first film done so brilliantly. We start with a young man Dave (Karan Soni) receiving a package that contains the now infamous Wolf Mask and a DVD that is stamped “Watch Me!”. He plays and watches footage of himself in the house, then there is a knock on the door and in enters his new best friend Aaron, who smirks with a devilish smile at the hidden camera inside the mask. Its right at this moment that I was so glad to be back in his company. Duplass is fantastic, a reason why these films work so brilliantly.
He tells Dave that he is turning 40 and going through a mid life crisis and then we are subjected to an extreme act of violence that only reminds us again at how brutal this serial killer can be. Creep 2 then changes focus. We move on to Sara (Desiree Akhavan), a woman who is desperate to be an Internet star and yet is struggling as her online show, “Encounters” which basically sees her hanging out with strange lonely men is getting zero viewers, I wonder why? Like all good horror movie plot coincidences, she basically decides to do one more video and responds to Aaron’s new Craiglist Ad, what are the chances?
Duplass and Brice understand that we the viewer know now what to expect with this outcome, so they flip the expectations by having Aaron immediately telling Sara on arrival that he is a serial killer. If she can handle that and film him for the next 24hrs then he will open up to her like he has with no other and he promise that he won’t try to kill her once its over. Most people with an ounce of a brain cell would be out of the door like a flash, but Sara is a character that is so well written, that you will ignore what could be a major plot flaw. I mean why stay? But again its Duplass who carries the strength for us as he too for the majority of the running time, seems to be in disbelief at what is happening.
Every time he tries to jump out and scare her, she is unmoved. Even during the film’s most uncomfortable scene, in which Aaron walks in with a towel wrapped around his waist and then drops it to stand there totally naked, she is calm and composed, even telling him to sit down and for her to strip off and do the same. Aaron is kind of speechless, but there is also a wonderful ignorance surrounding Sara as even though she knows this man is a bit of a werido, she can’t quite believe that he could be a serial killer, even when he shows her the footage of the end of the first film, deep down she believes it must be fake.
The chemistry between the two drives the film through the middle act, much like the first, nothing much happens and at times you start to believe that this could be heading towards an unexpected love story as you begin to believe that Aaron is actually falling in love with his new target. But as always, we have to watch as we are are not sure if this is all an act by Aaron, in what is yet another bravado performance for all the cameras that are filming him.
By the time Aaron puts his life and soul into the story being told, the film then flips into the last quarter and things start to unravel. The rare beauty of what is now a franchise (Creep 3 is coming), is that we never know where the film is going to head. Will they find love, as you do get a feeling that Sara is intrigued by this charming man, or will Aaron don the Peachfuzz mask and show his hand?
The film’s finale may leave many cold, a path that many Found Footage films have trodden, but those who are disheartened and expected a bloodbath are missing the entire point. This is not a horror film! Its a tale of a man who is mentally deranged who has stumbled on a woman who will not bow down to his will to scare. Its one of the most purest psychological tales ever told. It doesn’t improve on the original but basically stays on the same level of terror.
Duplass has created a Michael Myers without the mask. A new generation bogeyman that will scare you more because he seems so damn real. You begin to question your own sanity as like Sara, you would love to sit down and have a drink with this guy, just to see his madness, whether you live to tell the tale though is a question only Josef/Aaron or whatever name he calls himself can answer…..
Creep 2 is simply unmissable!