Creep being a found footage style movie means it was going to have to work a little harder to get me on board. Then it worked much harder than I thought it was going to and managed to get me on board even when, as happens in every found footage film, it hit the point where there was no good reason for the people to be filming anymore. Also, while a lot of horror films have some horrific stuff between the violence and even sexual assault, I think I would trigger warning this movie more than most of them because it does such an amazing job of showing the kind of real world mental abuse a person can inflict.
The only characters we ever get on screen for Creep are Aaron and Josef. Aaron is a videographer that answers an ad by Josef about needing someone to do some film work for a decently large sum of money. Josef tells him that what he wants to do is create a video diary for his unborn son because he has terminal brain cancer and wants his son to be able to see him how he was. As they spend more time together, it becomes more and more apparent that something is actually wrong with Josef and he might have been lying about the entire thing. When Josef’s obsession with Aaron intensifies, things go from unsettling to actually dangerous.
What makes Creep work so well is that the character of Josef is not immediately someone that you would think is unhinged but there is definitely something odd about him. Josef then proceeds to use basically all of the tricks in the abuser handbook on Aaron. He gets Aaron to let his guard down and really feel sorry for him which allows Josef to make Aaron get into situations that he otherwise wouldn’t (such as filming Aaron in the tub). He constantly scares Aaron (most of the jump scares are literal jumping out from behind things scares) but then smooths it over and puts the impetus on Aaron to accept the apology or seem like a jerk. He gets Aaron to open up and make himself vulnerable and then uses that to excuse more and more of his behavior.
The film, as mentioned, does reach a point where you realize that there is no reason for Aaron to be filming anything anymore and should really just be more concerned with his safety than keeping the camera rolling. However, the movie is at least fairly smart about a lot of the things that happen. At several points we have some very meta moments where there is video of one of the characters watching another video and then asking all the questions we would have from watching it or trying to explain why something happened the way it did. Also the point where I was saying “You should call the police” was the same scene where he did in fact call the police. And, much like many abusive relationships or stalker cases, the police didn’t have enough evidence or information to go on.
The movie is very tense and the jump scares are interesting since they are Josef deliberately, in character trying to scare the person with the camera. I give the movie a 4.5 out of 5 but again would caution anyone that has been in an abusive relationship that this might bring up some serious bad memories.
Favorite part of the film: When the two of them are on a hike and it almost seems like Josef is just quirky instead of actually crazy. It’s such a wonderful line that they walk in the early parts of the film.
Least favorite part: The final jump scare that happens in the movie feels much more meta and like it is for the audience which is sad because I liked how everything else so far had been character motivated.