‘CREEP 2’ Review
A few years ago I was able to watch a screener of a little movie I hadn’t heard of called Creep. I was completely unprepared; this was a unique, comedic horror movie that turned lovable every-man Mark Duplass into a sadistic, uncomfortable, humorous serial killer. Also, Peachfuzz. About a year later it popped up on Netflix to catch a slew of equally unprepared folks around the globe. It’s a movie I don’t hear people talk about nearly enough, but it’s got a nice following. It’s only appropriate that up until a few weeks ago I wasn’t even aware there was a second film being made, let alone releasing in time for Halloween.
We catch up with Aaron, formerly known as Josef (Mark Duplass) in the midst of a midlife crisis of sorts. He’s almost 40 now and he’s lost his lust for murder. Something no longer excites him about the art of killing. Maybe he’s run his course? Enter Sara (Desiree Akhavan), the creator and host of a web series called Encounters. She seeks out extraordinary (and strange) people to get to know on camera, to dig into their psyche. The problem being that her web series isn’t successful, and she needs to take it to a new level in order to find a fan base or else call it quits. She discovers an ad with Aaron claiming to be a serial killer, and bites at the opportunity. Think about this…the BEST case scenario for her is that he’s the real deal. She travels to his remote cabin to hopefully capture her best episode ever. It goes without saying that it will indeed…but Aaron also has other plans in mind.
Mild spoilers ahead, but it’s impossible to really talk about the movie without them. So how do you follow up Creep with something equal, without doing essentially the same thing? Duplass and co-writer/director Patrick Brice figured out the perfect answer to that question: you have the victim be more fascinated by the killer than afraid of him. It’s not turning the tables and pitting the killer against an equal victim or another killer (which is where I thought this was going) but it’s entirely different than the wolf and the sheep aesthetic that the first film played with. Brice and Duplass also manage to defy almost every expectation that you have for the movie, and it constantly surprised me as I got to know Sara more. She’s complex, she’s fragile, she’s disturbed, and she’s fascinating. While I thought Brice was quite good in the first film, his prey is blown away by Desiree Akhavan’s. She’s so incredibly magnetic, and I don’t entirely know why. Her unpredictability (as an actress and a character) only adds an extra layer of the unknown and strange to the proceedings here. And what more can I say about Duplass? Look at this face.
I’ve loved him in many things, but he’s absolutely terrific as this guy. He has this childlike wonder and playfulness about him while at the same time hiding a dark monster that creeps up from time to time (no pun intended). He’s having a blast here, and it shows! Duplass now adds another layer to the character with having him face an existential crisis on top of it all. Then having him discover what feels like a new kind of human toy to play with which he hasn’t experienced before, or at least in a long time, is brilliant.
I’m not quite sure yet how this stacks up next to the first movie, but my instinct right now is that it’s slightly superior. The thrills are on point, and so are the suspense, the discomfort, the humor, and the surprises. Such a quiet, calm terror. Even after seeing the first film, somehow I was unprepared for the sequel. What more could I ask for? Killed it.
‘CREEP 2’ is available on VOD today!
Two great performers putting on a crazy, quiet, intense, funny, unpredictable showcase.
If the first one didn't do it for you, I don't think you'll find much to enjoy here, though it is decidedly different.