We all want to do good in some way; helping a friend carry their groceries in, holding the door for an old person…small gestures to improve someone’s day, or someone’s life. But what if the person we feel compelled to help has sinister intentions towards us? It’s something we don’t think about much – the sort of thing that “happens to other people” – but what if being a Good Samaritan was to backfire?
That’s the premise of Creep, the 2014 hidden gem that I found disturbing and haunting. It’s not often I’m still creeped out by a film three days later, still thinking about the antagonist and how deeply disturbing the character was…but that was the case with Creep.
Set mostly in a remote cabin, the film tells its story in a found-footage style; Aaron (Patrick Brice, co-script writer), a young videographer, answers an online ad placed by a man who is dying of a terminal disease. The man, Josef, (Mark Duplass, co-script writer), wants to make a video of him doing ordinary things, which his wife can then show to their unborn child, so the child can know its father in some way. Sounds very touching and sweet…
…but when Aaron meets Josef, there is an immediate sense that something is not quite right. Aaron overcomes his feelings of unease, and tries to form a working relationship with Josef…but what seem at first to be merely eccentric quirks in Josef’s personality rapidly become bizarre and downright unnerving behaviours, progressively more inappropriate and macabre.
This is one of those films that sits on the border between horror and thriller, but whatever label one puts upon it, Creep is the sort of film one simultaneously wishes one could see again, and yet wishes one had never seen it to start with. The images remain for days in one’s mind, as well as the disturbing implications of the film’s climax.
Without giving anything away, I will simply recommend this film to those who appreciate gritty, grounded, psychological horror, along the lines of Misery or Wolf Creek.
Creep lives up to its name to the point that the character of Josef could be the next gold standard against which cinematic creeps are measured. See it!