FrightFest 2014: Creep
Tense two-hander written by and starring Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice
Mark Duplass and debut writer-director Patrick Brice breathe new life into the found footage horror film with this incredibly tense two-hander which is hilarious and terrifying in equal parts. Duplass's indie beginnings (particularly Baghead, on which he collaborated with his brother Jay) are apparent in this low-key horror. It's produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge) and you can feel his influence and genre expertise throughout.
Duplass is on fine form as Josef, an over-sharing cancer survivor, whose vague advertisement on craigslist for a filming service entices Aaron (Brice) to his cabin in the woods. Taking inspiration from Sidney Lumet’s Deathtrap, a power play between two men ensues. Aaron documents it all on his handheld camera, and when things take a strange turn, a playful but exceptionally cynical study of human nature unfolds.
Loneliness draws Aaron to the creepy Josef, whose in-your-face manic behaviour delivers jolts and jump scares aplenty due to his constant prank playing. Brice and Duplass have crafted a script which fashions complex characters and drags out every inch of its situational value. The back-and-forth between the two men and the 'getting to know you' moments are played for laughs, with the men's burgeoning relationship initially exhibiting elements of a bromance movie. Imagine if I Love You, Man went in a different, more disturbing direction and you’ll be on the right tracks.
Creep is concerned with the manipulation of identity in the internet age and the dangers of meeting with strangers. In this way it brings to mind David Slade's Hard Candy. Excellent performances from both actors, a swift pace, fascinating characters and dramatic reveals come together in this tightly wound chamber piece which showcases new talent. Brice is most certainly one to watch.
Screening at Vue West End, Leicester Square, London on Sat 23 Aug as part of FrightFest 2014. General release TBC.