I’ve a low tolerance for found footage movies. I also have a very small amount of patient for mystery thrillers. Both, I believe, rely too heavily on the audience to grant the filmmakers leeway in the storytelling while at the same time have the story being told be too rigid.
2014’s Creep starring Mark Duplass (The League) who co-wrote the film and Patrick Brice (writer and director) is a film using found footage to try to craft a psychological thriller. It succeeds in that it never moves outside of its own boundaries acquitting itself within these. However, it is not an interesting or compelling film, and I was grossly disappointed in it.
A found footage thriller is much like a police procedural, there are certain beats and scenes that must be hit. Once you know the formula, all you have is the particular performance. The performances of Duplass and Brice are well enough, casual and thus believable. But all of this is premised on the idea someone would take a job without any due diligence. Brice’s character is hired via Craigslist to come out to Duplass’s home site unseen and person unmet to film him for a project. Jokes about Craiglist Killers were low-hanging fruit even in 2014, so this film starts out of the gate in dodgy premise waters.
What we get are a series of red flags each escalating the ‘Nope’ or ‘I’m out factor,’ yet still the film persists. And yet, I don’t care. I don’t care if Duplass is a killer or just a clingy weirdo. I don’t care if Brice is killed or what he finds weird or not weird enough to bail on. There are no emotional stakes in the film and because of this, I’m only watching for voyeuristic, visceral pleasure which this lacks entirely. I am astounded this film won praise.
At best this is a mediocre stage play shoehorned into a ‘scary movie.’