CREEP (2014) Review

Welcome to a display of nauseating camerawork mere seconds after the credits have rolled. That’s because this is found-footage film, first popularized by The Blair Witch Project (1999) and surely beloved by glitzy film studios because of how cheaply they can be made. But their cheapness can serve as inspiration too. Why? Because anybody can make them. 

The fey man, literally behind the sloppy camerawork, fills us in on his assignment to film a gentleman in his home and how his “discretion is appreciated.” While passing through a bland yet quaint, California small town (if you listen closely, you can hear the rocketing real estate prices), our indelicate camera operator intones: “Cute little lake. Cute little town.” At this point, one begins to wonder if there was any attempt at scripting or if we are entering the realm of improvisation, which is certainly an exciting realm. 

Near the unforgettable “Cute little lake. Cute little town” dialogue couplet, the fourth wall is broken briefly when the camera begins filming our intrepid videographer on its own, sliding through the air with improved agility and swiftness, like a snake overtaking the reins. 

After a jump-scare (or two?), we follow Cross-Fit (or whatever exuberant exercise regiment happens to be in vogue when you read this)-clad Josef, a 30-something, seemingly successful A-type personality who informs the cameraman he is terminally ill and has hired him to film a day in his life for his unborn son. It’s a poignant set-up but we’ve already encountered a jump-scare, a genre-fication by streaming service, and an eyebrow-raising hint at character foil in the film’s title. One begins to wonder: could a horror film be poignant?    

Despite some sarcasm in the previous paragraphs, the performances of the two leads are believable and there are surprisingly few don’t-go-in-there-you-idiot moments, despite what the pulpy set-up might lead you to believe to the contrary. A few of the monologues were genuinely disturbing and affecting, and the creeptastic factor of Peachfuzz (pictured above) was nothing to sneeze at. There’s  also two especially brilliant shot compositions: one featuring Josef almost hovering in the deep background of patio shadows, another, also a dramatic wide-shot, featuring the two leads in the film’s final scene and cruel denouement (this is truly a horror movie, folks), in which Josef un-surreptitiously (at least from his perspective: “why didn’t you turn around?”) indubitably confirms the veracity of the film’s title.          

Today is April 24th, 2020 and this film is currently streaming on Netflix.

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