It’s pretty miraculous how a horror film starring only two people can be this scary. Director Patrick Brice proves his excellence once again with Creep 2, a sequel that almost always ups the ante of terror that viewers experienced with its 2014 predecessor, Creep.
A woman named Sara enjoys making a web series online entitled “Encounters,” in which she ventures out and films a day in the life in a strange individual’s day (we see several examples of her doing this in the film’s first ten to fifteen minutes).
However, things are not quite looking up for Sara as virtually nobody is watching her web show which upsets her tremendously, and makes her want to stop filming the show altogether. But, one day, a man going by the name of Aaron messages her on Craigslist and informs her that he will be willing to star in an episode of her show. He states that if she records him on video camera for an entire day, she will be paid $1,000. When Sara later arrives at Aaron’s home, things quickly turn awry.
After watching the brilliantly effective but short Creep, released in 2014, I sat wondering when or if I would be getting a sequel to the film, as I noticed it did a great job of setting up a universe of its own in the vein of horror films like Halloween and Friday the 13th.
Similar to the first film, Creep 2 has absolutely amazing acting, especially by Mark Duplass, who returns from the first film. The entire time you watch his character of Aaron on screen, a dark unease sets over your body, and it’s thanks to Duplass’ true level of acting range that his roles in Creep and Creep 2 are so scary. In this film’s predecessor, you never really learn all that much about him. Similarly, writer/director Brice (Duplass also serves as writer on both films) is careful not to explain too many things in detail at once to help you learn about Duplass’ character.
It’s because of this as well that the Creep series’ leading character is so creepy and unnerving. You do not know practically anything about him.
This film is, however, more of a horror story character study focusing on Duplass’ Aaron, whereas 2014’s Creep was more of a traditional style horror film. I’m sure after watching that film, many fans asked Brice to delve deeper into Duplass’ character, as he is the true reason people watch the Creep movies. Creep 2 does provide more insight in terms of Aaron’s backstory, but even still, we do not necessarily know an abundance of things about him.
It’s also worth noting that Desiree Akhavan who portrays Sara is also extremely good in the motion picture. For the majority of the film, she is behind the camera filming Aaron in the vein of films like 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, and 2008’s Cloverfield, but this does not mean she doesn’t give a great performance. A lot of the emotion that the character of Sara is going through is made very clear by the tone of her voice in several scenes, and it’s fascinating that Akhavan is able to show such strong emotion without even being seen on camera for almost the entire film.
An element that disappointed me with Creep 2 was the way it handled its scares. This film does indeed have more scares than the first film did, but this time around, it seems like Brice opted to go for the clichéd jump scare route, rather than a slow-burning psychological thrill-ride. There are at least more than five or six jump scares in this extremely short 78 minute film. Gratefully, though, even one of the film’s characters acknowledge how silly and stupid jump scares can be.
Even though as aforementioned the horror flick does indeed have more scares, truth be told, the film as a whole was not even all that terrifying to me. Everybody I’ve talked to that has seen the first Creep film have all agreed that it was a horrifying film. Creep 2, however, I can see people saying that the film was more comedic than scary. Sometimes, these two tones do not always mix perfectly with one another either, and can at times come across as forced.
But, as a whole, Creep 2 was an immensely satisfying film for me, as it provided a lot more insight into one of the most intriguing horror film characters in years. Is it better than the first film? No. But the performances by Desiree Akhavan and Mark Duplass elevate this sequel to great heights.
Overall Grade: A-
Certification: United States; Not Rated
Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Mark Duplass
Directed by: Patrick Brice
Distributed by: The Orchard
Running Time: 78 minutes