The first Creep film was something I heard rumblings about upon its initial release in 2015. I never got around to seeing it, but it was always on my “I’ll get around to it, eventually” watchlist. When I was given the opportunity to review Creep 2, I took this as a perfect reason to play catch up. I hate watching sequels, let alone reviewing them, without watching the original first. Even if the films are relatively unrelated, I just can’t fully get into it knowing there might be something that I could have missed. Creep was a disturbing tale of a man named Josef who hires a videographer named Aaron under the false pretenses that he is dying of cancer, and he wishes to film a goodbye to his wife and child. Mark Duplass does a scarily convincing job playing a charismatic psychopath.
I loved him in Safety Not Guaranteed as the socially awkward and unbalanced Kenneth, and in Creep he takes a very similar unbalanced and socially awkward character to malevolently new and disturbing heights. Creep 2 picks up the story shortly after the first film. Josef (now gruesomely going by the name of Aaron, his victim in the first film) is still doing his shtick of luring unsuspecting filmmakers to his house in the woods, only to dispose of them horrifically. Creep 2 lacks the gradual mystery and terrifying pay off that the original has, the audience already knows Josef/Aaron, and we know what he’s all about. At this point, the psychotic cat is definitely out of the bag. Instead, Creep 2 takes a different approach that makes it feel fresh and original, not just a shallow and unnecessary rehash of its predecessor.
“Creep 2 takes a different approach that makes it feel fresh and original, not just a shallow and unnecessary rehash of its predecessor…”
After a brutal opening scene, we’re introduced to our new main character/potential murder victim, Sara (Desiree Akhavan). Sara is a documentarian with a failed YouTube show in which she answers ads on Craigslist that sound weird and off-putting. We actually see her answer a few of these ads in a montage. She cuddles with a lonely man, treats another like a baby, and other seemingly weird things people are secretly into. When she receives an intriguing message from Aaron (Mark Duplass), she decides to postpone giving up on her project and just go with it. The new angle this sequel presents us with is that right off the bat “Aaron” just blatantly tells her he’s a serial killer who has killed dozens of people. Sara doesn’t believe him but decides this opportunity is too good for her to waste it. What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse. Now we know that Aaron is going to kill, or at least try to kill Sara at some point, and it’s such an amazing slow burn just waiting for it to happen. I found myself looking for clues and ticks. There is such an unsettling chemistry between these two characters. At times, Aaron is so blunt and honest, and other times he tells wild lies. These actions set Sara off. As soon as she thinks she has the situation figured out, he throws her off his tracks once again. While watching, I was even questioning whether or not Aaron had romantic feelings for Sara, and might even spare her or maybe do something horrifying that didn’t just involve outright killing her. The climax of the film is ferociously intense and incredibly dark. I don’t want to spoil any of it for you here, but it was pleasantly unexpected, brutal, and again for a lack of a better word, creepy.
“The climax of the film is ferociously intense and incredibly dark.”
A major gripe I have with Creep 2 is Sara. Even though she’s portrayed as a strong female character, her willingness to participate past a certain point is baffling. You’re practically yelling at the screen telling her to get the fuck outta there and run. There’s a ton of stuff you’ll have to use your suspension of disbelief with (For instance, how can Aaron/Josef get away with killing so many people without getting caught?). I still highly recommend both of the Creep films, but I definitely think Creep 2 is a way stronger viewing experience. Knowing what’s coming and waiting for it to happen is just way more interesting than anything that happens in the original Creep. Also, the sequel just feels tighter and less improvised. It has a better flow to it. Both of these films are disturbing, but not too over-the-top. The best horror films, in my opinion, forgo the cheap jump scares and aim to make you feel uneasy, vulnerable, and on guard. Creep 2 definitely has that quality in spades.
Creep 2 (2017) Directed by: Patrick Brice. Written by: Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. Starring: Mark Duplass, Desiree Akhavan, Karan Soni, Patrick Brice, Caveh Zahedi, Jeff Man, Kyle Field.
8 out of 10