I dug this film, if not merely out of some pathological identification with its title. Creeps Like Me has all the makings for the most cliché of films, but director Paul Strilka is able to keep it afloat above those muddied waters of cheap slogans.
Strilka’s film follows the plight of three men who are all attracted to the same woman, despite her overt manipulation of all of them. There’s Vic, a young bandana wearing pool-hall legend; Dom, an older traveling businessman with money and stability; and Charlie, an ex-discjockey and contract killer who has just returned to town with a revitalized fixation for a legendary local DJ. Though all three guys are independent and macho, they are dominated by Mona, a sexy bar waitress who uses each man for their particular strength.
Creeps Like Me begins with Vic struggling to escape the bindings of masking tape and garbage bags that Charlie has ensnared him in at gunpoint. From there, it flashes back to the drama that unfolded to this point. It seems only one of these rogues will survive Mona’s dangerous attraction.
Of course, the film is full of pool-hall scenes and diner table talk, but none of these typecast settings ever becomes tiresome. Even male comic book arguments, banter, and the token obscure theory offered up for discussion over coffee, all manage to avoid inanity. Strilka knows what he’s doing, and just as the film’s route seems predictable, he manipulates his settings and dialogue with acute timing.
Perhaps the oddest, and most interesting aspect of Creeps is the relationship the three men develop with one another, eventually playing pool and drinking beer together, while all the while knowing they are at odds. Mona’s personality also blooms into an interesting mix of stealthy plotting and innocent confusion.
There’s nothing truly striking about Creeps Like Me, but perhaps this is simply another pitfall Strilka chose to avoid. The film’s value is in its subtlety, one which cannot even be unnerved by three alcoholic, hormonal males.