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SXSW 2014 Review: Creep
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Creep SXSW bannerCreep
Director: Patrick Brice
Cast:Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice
World Premiere | Blumhouse Productions
Not Rated | 80 Minutes
Release Date: March 8, 2014

Looking for work, Aaron (Patrick Brice) comes across a cryptic online ad: “$1,000 for the day. Filming service. Discretion is appreciated.”

Low on cash, Aaron drives to a cabin in a remote mountain town where he meets Josef (Mark Duplass), his video subject for the day. Josef is nice enough – even if he is a little weird – and the project seems sincere, so Aaron grabs his gear and begins to shoot. As the day goes on, however, it becomes clear that Josef is not who he says.

That’s the basic setup for Creep, Brice’s directorial debut, which is produced by Duplass and Jason Blum (Insidious, Sinister). Creep is an intense, disturbing, and hilarious piece of work, combining elements of found footage with the naturalistic, improvised dialogue of mumblecore.

Creep has been one of the highlights of the South by Southwest Film Festival so far. The film just works so well, effortlessly manipulating the audience with playful, peculiar comedic moments that lead to unsettling, suspenseful sequences.

Despite the found-footage style, the camera’s point-of-view never feels forced, and the interactions seem genuine. Duplass delivers a fantastic performance as Josef, whose eccentricities surface in ways that are both horrifying and strangely funny. Equally impressive is Brice, who pulls triple-duty at actor, co-writer, and director.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the interplay between the film’s two protagonists and the truth behind Josef’s mysterious online ad, but one thing’s for sure: it’s not what you think. In fact, nothing about Creep is what it seems.

During the film’s world premiere at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, the audience at the Stateside Theatre fluctuated between fits of uncontrollable laughter and terrified silence.

It will be interesting to see what kind of release Creep gets from Blumhouse. It’s an experimental project – not exactly a horror film, and certainly not a wink-wink-nudge-nudge send-up like Cabin in the Woods or You’re Next.

In a theater full of movie geeks, Creep really works – but if it’s advertised as your run-of-the-mill found-footage flick, general audiences will probably come out of it with a chip on their shoulder saying, “That wasn’t even scary.” That’s because, again, it isn’t really a horror film.

Creep is both chilling and hilarious – Duplass is fucking weird as shit in this movie and it’s so much fun to watch – and Patrick Brice emerges as a filmmaker to watch. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more about this movie soon – there isn’t even a trailer to show you at this point – and fingers crossed Blumhouse finds a way to give Creep a full-on wide release.

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