Creep (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Patrick Brice|
|Edited by||Christopher Donlon|
|Distributed by||The Orchard|
Creep is a 2014 American independent found footage psychological horror film directed by Patrick Brice, based on a story written by Brice and Mark Duplass, and is also Brice's directorial debut. Creep premiered on March 8, 2014, at South by Southwest, and was released on video on demand on June 23, 2015, by The Orchard prior to an international release via Netflix on July 14, 2015.
The film follows Aaron (portrayed by Brice), a videographer who answers an ad, created by Josef (portrayed by Duplass). As they get closer together, he discovers that his client is not who he was expecting.
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Aaron, a videographer, drives to a secluded house to meet Josef, who put out an ad for a job. Josef explains that it is his family vacation home, and that his wife Angela is pregnant. Josef wants to record a series of videos for his unborn son, "Buddy", due to having mere months to live. After beating cancer years ago, it has returned to his brain. Josef exhibits odd behavior such as startling Aaron and randomly hugging, but it seems harmless.
Josef's first request for Aaron is to record him taking a bath. He fondly reminisces about his father bathing with him when he was a baby, and yearns to carry on this tradition. He simulates taking a bath with an invisible baby and Aaron quietly records. Josef then slowly submerges himself in the water as if he was trying to drown himself. It startles Aaron, but Josef lifts himself back up. Next, Josef asks Aaron to go hiking with him and instructs him to go to a closet to get some gear. He is startled by a wolf mask in the closet; Josef tells him that his father used to wear the mask, pretending to be a friendly wolf named Peachfuzz.
While hiking, Josef exhibits more odd behavior. He randomly sprints forward and disappears, and purposely scares Aaron again. He claims to know of a secret place with "healing waters" and leads Aaron to a hidden waterfall after a very long hike. They finally find it, and together they wade in the stream and appear relaxed. Josef writes "J+A" on a large stone with a rock, drawing a heart around the initials. Josef excuses his behavior by claiming he has a "weird sense of humor."
They go to a restaurant that Josef says he used to frequent with his family, but Aaron becomes suspicious when Josef appears to be unfamiliar with the menu. Josef asks Aaron if he has ever been ashamed of anything. Aaron tells that as a child, he would often pee himself to a point where he wore a monitor to alert him when it became wet. Josef then admits to Aaron that while Aaron was waiting for Josef's arrival at the house, he took several photos of him standing by the front door as he was secretly watching him. Josef says it was because he wanted to get to know Aaron before meeting him and apologizes profusely.
They arrive back at the house after dark. Aaron, now extremely uncomfortable, is anxious to leave. However, Josef asks him to stay for a drink, and he reluctantly agrees. Josef asks Aaron to turn off the camera, claiming that what he is about to say is not appropriate for Buddy. Aaron shuts off the video but continues to record the audio. Josef tells him he lied about Peachfuzz. The truth is that one day he checked his internet browser history and discovered his wife, Angela, has been was watching animal pornography. To confirm his suspicions, he broke into his own home wearing the wolf mask to rape his wife.
Aaron is unsettled and attempts to leave, but can't find his car keys. Josef states that he should wait and leave in the morning. Aaron has no choice but to agree, and secretly adds Benadryl to Josef's whiskey, which puts him to sleep. Josef begins talking in his sleep, saying very disturbing things to Aaron and even begins to touch himself. Aaron attempts to search Josef for his keys. When Josef's phone rings, Aaron runs to the bathroom to answer it. It is Josef's sister, and says that her brother has problems, and instructs Aaron to leave the house immediately for his own safety.
The call drops, and Aaron returns to find Josef gone. Josef jumps out at him again, but says the reason for his strange behavior is that he doesn't want to die. Aaron reveals to Josef that he spoke to his sister and that he wants to help him, but Josef becomes angry and runs away. Aaron goes for the front door, but finds Josef blocking it while wearing the Peachfuzz mask. Aaron pleads with Josef to let him leave, but Josef silently shakes his head 'no' and begins to growl and rub his body on the door in an erotic manner. Aaron charges at him, and the camera shuts off.
Aaron is recording himself at home. He receives a DVD in the mail from Josef. The footage depicts Josef dragging filled trash bags up a hill, and burying them. Aaron thinks it is meant as a threat, but does not call the police thinking this will just go away. At night, Aaron admits that he has been having terrible nightmares about Josef.
The next morning, Aaron finds a large package at his front door, inside is a knife and another DVD. Josef apologizes and says that he really cares about Aaron, but now repeatedly calls Aaron "Buddy" instead. He says to find the stuffed wolf animal in the box, and per Josef's instructions, Aaron rips open the stuffed animal to find a locket with Josef's and Aaron's pictures in it. Upset and disgusted, Aaron throws everything away.
Aaron goes to the police, who are no help due to the fact that he does not know anything about Josef, including his full name. Another night, Aaron hears odd noises in his home, as Aaron searches his home, Josef can be seen at the front door. As Aaron approaches, Josef runs away, unseen. Later that night as Aaron sleeps, Josef breaks in and films a sleeping Aaron. Aaron had peed himself in bed. Josef cuts off a lock of Aaron's hair.
Aaron wakes up to find that the screen in his window ripped, and another DVD labeled "My Last Video" next to his bed. Josef, in the video, reveals that he found the locket in Aaron's trash, which hurt him greatly, but states that they are now "even" because he knew that Aaron drugged him in the house. He claims this led to the realization that he needs help, as he is sad and needs a friend. He asks Aaron to come to a public lake by his house to talk so they could finally have "closure." To the naive Aaron, his pleas seem somewhat genuine. Aaron goes to the location and leaves the camera rolling from his car. Aaron sits on a bench and waits. Josef sneaks up from behind, puts on the Peachfuzz mask, and strikes Aaron in the head with an axe.
Josef films himself watching the murder tape. He expresses admiration and even puzzlement at Aaron's naivety and kindness, and claims he loves him and considers him to be his favorite "of them all." He puts a DVD labeled "Aaron <3" in a cabinet full of DVDs and VHS tapes with many other names on them, and dates going back to at least 1996.
On another phone call, he identifies himself as "Bill" to another videographer who responded to one of his ads.
Duplass said that the film's story "was inspired by character-driven dramas that are, at their heart, two-handers: My Dinner with Andre, Misery, and Fatal Attraction" as well as "[his] myriad of strange Craigslist experiences over the years." Brice and Duplass originally began working on Creep under the working title Peachfuzz, but chose to rename the film as the title's relevance came later in the movie's plot and they did not want viewers to "spend the first half hour trying to figure out why the movie is called Peachfuzz and [not] pay attention to the very intricate details". The two built the movie from a series of conversations they had with one another and decided to refine Creep while they were filming, which enabled them to film and screen portions of the film to see what would or wouldn't work on camera. As a result, the film had multiple alternate end scenarios and Duplass stated that there were "10 to 12 permutations of each scene".
Of the creative process for his character, Josef, Duplass explained "We were interested in the psychological profile of this very, very strange person. We were very interested in how you meet people and don’t quite understand what’s up, but you start to get signs. For us that was intense eye contact, lack of personal space, oversharing, maybe a little bit too much love here and there. But, for me, there’s something wrong with both of these guys. Deeply. This concept of, 'who is the creep in this scenario?'"
Creep received a world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 8, 2014 and film rights were purchased by RADiUS-TWC shortly thereafter. Plans for an October 2014, video on demand release fell through, when RADiUS didn't release the film. In June 2015, The Orchard and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Orchard's parent company) acquired distribution rights to the film. The film was released on June 23, 2015, on video on demand, prior to a global release on Netflix on July 14, 2015.
Creep received positive reviews from critics. The film has an approval rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 7.06/10. The critical consensus states, "A smart, oddball take on found-footage horror, Creep is clever and well-acted enough to keep viewers on the edges of their seats". On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 74 out of 100, based on 6 reviews.
The Hollywood Reporter and Indiewire both gave the film positive reviews, and Indiewire noted that although the film had its flaws, they mostly worked in Creep's favor. Variety remarked that Creep "could have been more effective if Duplass’ performance were a shade more ambiguous, and the audience had a chance to at least fleetingly believe Josef might be telling the truth" but that "Despite the blatancy of his character’s ulterior motives, Duplass scores a considerable impact by making the most of the aforementioned plot twists."
In contrast, Shock Till You Drop panned the movie overall, stating that "Creep might work for those don't regularly digest horror films, but for the hardened fan, this is a film that spins its wheels all too often and feels like an exercise in self-indulgence."
Shortly after Creep's premiere at South by Southwest, Duplass announced that he intended to film a sequel and after the film distribution rights were purchased by RADiUS-TWC, he further announced that he was planning on creating a trilogy. In August 2014, Duplass further stated that he and Brice planned on filming the second Creep film at the end of the year, that the film's cast would be announced during that time, and that the trilogy would be completed in 2015. However, in February 2015, Duplass commented that neither he nor Brice had been able to start filming on Creep 2 due to scheduling issues, as the careers of both men had greatly expanded since Creep's release, but that the both of them were still actively developing the project. In May 2016, Duplass and Brice announced discussions had begun on the sequel. In August 2016, Duplass revealed that he had begun trying on costumes for the film.
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