Monday, October 17, 2016

30 Days of Nightmares #17: CREEP (2014)

The Story: According to Netflix: “A freelance cameraman can’t be fussy about his assignments.  But this one could go way beyond his comfort zone.”

Expectations: I knew nothing about this film.  I saw the title on Netflix direct-play, thought the synopsis sounded intriguing (because it doesn’t really say anything....), and was moderately creeped out by the DONNIE DARKO-esque mask on the poster image.  So I just decided to roll the dice.  Sometimes—maybe most of the time—this is the best way to experience a horror movie. So why don't I just say "stop reading now and go watch the movie"?

Reaction: Well, since you’re still here….

First thought: How did I manage to make it 17 days into a 30-day horror movie marathon without watching a found footage movie?  Statistically, I wasn’t sure that was even possible these days.  The good news is that, although CREEP exhibits many of the usual annoyances of the found footage format (seriously, why wouldn't you put the camera down in order to fight for your life?!), I'm generally impressed that the filmmakers were able to do so much with so little.

Second thought: This movie brings me back to the key question posed in THE INVITATION: “Is he L.A.-crazy or crazy-crazy?”  (CREEP was shot in Crestline, California, in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles.  The “heart rock” is real, visible on one of the main hiking paths from Camp Seeley.  And the title character is definitely an Angeleno.)  As with THE INVITATION, the answer seems to be a foregone conclusion because this is, after all, a horror movie.  Things are going to get ugly at some point.  The narrative is built around the followup questions: “when?” and “how?”   

Third thought: I say that the title character is an Angeleno because it's clear that he's taken a lot of improvisational acting classes.  In fact, I think this entire movie might have been an improv experiment.  I remember reading somewhere that the actors in the original BLAIR WITCH were sent out into the woods with only a rough idea of what was going to happen to them.  The idea was that their ignorance of what was to come would make their reactions seem more genuine.  

I believe I saw the two main actors in CREEP processing the dialogue that was being thrown at them (as if for the first time), and actively contemplating responses that would not break the basic rules of improvisation (don't reject, don't deny, don't ask questions, tell a story, make active choices, etc. etc.) Am I being critical?  No.  Because the bottom line is that, as I was watching this film, I never had any idea what was going to happen next.  That made CREEP seem silly and a little annoying at times, but also consistently unsettling.   You might find yourself laughing at this one a lot.... But it will be nervous laughter.

Fourth, totally random thought: I love that early reference to MY LIFE.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: "Peachfuzz"

1 comment:

  1. The ending realllllly upset me. Unsettling film through and through. Not sure if I'd revisit, but glad I saw it.