Thursday, August 6, 2015

Creep (2014)

The Internet is a scary place where sometimes your kids will go on a chat video site and see a picture of a penis. But the things that happen in this week's movie, entitled Creep, might be far worse than that. I'm not going to make any stances for or against that logic, but it's a possibility, is all I'm saying.

Director: Patrick Brice
Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass

Co-written with Michelle.

This is a bit of a personal project directed, written and starred in by the same two guys – Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. It's a found footage thing about this freelance cameraman who answers a Craigslist ad and then finds himself filming this really weird guy. Things just get stranger from there. And by stranger, I mean completely bat-shit, flinging poop at the walls, Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys crazy.

We start off with main character Aaron, played by Brice, filming himself while driving – which is a thing that everyone does in real life. I am filming myself write and edit this review. No, it's not weird. These movies have taught me it's the most normal thing in the world to just have a camera on while you're by yourself, talking to yourself at all times.

You know what we need more of? Uncharismatic white guys filming themselves.

He meets up with Josef, played by Duplass, a strange man who likes to jump out of nowhere and do random jump scares. That’s totally a legit character quality and not just a cheap way to make the audience flinch for a second.

What do you mean I’m being sarcastic? I’ve never done that. Everything I say is 100% honest, and you can tell because I’m saying it on the Internet, where everything is believable.

Josef explains he has terminal brain cancer and is going to die in two months, so he wants Aaron to film a video for his unborn son. Wow. That got dark – how can I even make jokes about this? What kind of monster am I? Eh, on second thought, I don't care, because it's just a character in a movie.

Because after that, we immediately delve into WTF territory as Josef tells Aaron to film him taking a bath completely naked and miming how he'd bathe his son if he had a chance. You may be inclined to say it's sweet if a bit weird, but at one point, I shit you not, Josef pretends to kill himself by sinking down below the bath water. But just for another super hilarious jump scare! Yes, the old ‘cancer patient suicide joke’ is always a classic.

And yet Aaron doesn't care and just goes with it anyway, because that's the sort of thing a regular human being does. That's the main recurring theme in the movie; Josef doing weird shit and Aaron acting more desensitized than a 20-year police veteran would be to violent crime scenes, never finding it weird enough to say something or just straight up leave like a normal person would.

Then Josef wants to show Aaron his creepy wolf mask he keeps in the closet, and also does a dance with it on. Which is a scene I am sure I could make jokes about, but honestly, it would take me the whole rest of the review. Because this right here is the point where all sanity officially checks out for good.

What is this? Where am I? What is reality?

Then it's time to go hang out in the woods, where Josef immediately sprints off into nowhere without giving Aaron any warning. I think it would be hilarious, and a relief, if he never came back and just ran off.

Go, flee, my son, and never return.

But that doesn't happen – instead we get a rambling, headache-inducing, almost psychedelic scene of the two wandering in the woods. It's a bit like Blair Witch on happy pills. After watching it, I forgot who I was. Since Aaron’s brain is just one tiny marble rolling around in a vast empty space, he doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong when Josef asks if Aaron thought he was going to kill him with an ax Aaron saw outside his house earlier.

Who am I?

Seriously, what would it take to get you to realize this Josef guy isn't trustworthy? Would you have to see his torture sex dungeon full of sex slaves? “Hmm, well, it's weird, but I'll keep filming!”

After that, we get a scene of them sitting at a diner and Aaron tells Josef a story about how he used to pee his pants all the time. That's great. It really does sum up how he became the dead-eyed, obviously socially awkward adult he is now. That’s character development!

That night, over whiskey, Josef “confesses” that he caught his wife looking at animal porn one night, and then got the brilliant idea to break into her room at night wearing that wolf mask and rape her with it, which apparently she liked, because she looked at animal porn. Awesome story, bro! Man, what would I do with my life if I never heard that story? I would have really been missing out.

Aaron, fearing for his life at this point, drugs Josef's drink and gets him to fall asleep, but then, bafflingly, still isn't able to actually escape – because he's probably the type of person whose mother picked out his clothes until he was a senior in college.

Hiding in the fucking bathroom talking on the phone doesn't equal escaping. How can you not escape when the guy you're escaping from is in a drug-induced comatose sleep? How much less can you do, outside of just killing yourself for him?

Conveniently right as Aaron actually attempts to escape like a sane person would, Josef wakes up and tries to block his way at the door while wearing the wolf mask, growling like an animal and clearly intending to do him harm...

After that, it cuts to black and we see Josef in the woods digging a grave with black trash bags around him. For a second it looks like he actually killed Aaron, but nope! It's just a DVD he sent Aaron, who is at home safe and just lounging around his house doing nothing in a T-shirt and shorts. Lame!

Aaron is still talking to his camera despite the fact that his assignment with Josef is over now, which is because the movie is fucking dumb. He says he thought the whole thing with Josef was “just a weird thing that happened,” and that he didn't think about it much.

Really now. You were at this house with a man who insisted on bathing in front of you and made comments about how you thought he wanted to kill you, AND told you a story about raping his wife, AND blocked your path to the door wearing a wolf mask...and you didn't think anything was super scary about that? No warning bells went off? Dude, I'm giving up on you. You're dead to me now.

He also says he’s been having nightmares about being in the tub with Josef, both wearing wolf masks, and then he realizes in the dream that he’s a baby and bathing in blood. This apparently happens several times, but does THAT little detail cause even an inch of fear in dead-brained Aaron? Nope. Not an ounce. He’s as nonchalant about it as he would be about going to the DMV. I mean, yeah, he's a bit concerned, like a mistake was found on his tax return, but no big deal!

"I actually kinda LIKED the dream..."

Later on there’s another scene where Josef sends him a toy wolf with a heart shaped locket up its ass, and inside the locket is pictures of them like they’re in love or something. Aaron does finally call the police after THAT, which is like putting a bandaid on someone whose leg just got eaten by a shark. The police don’t help. Probably because they know he’s a lost cause.

They just don't like the adults from "Peanuts."

The “climax” of the film comes when Aaron hears a noise at night and starts looking around for what caused it. The camera catches Josef just standing creepily by the door, and Aaron eventually goes wandering outside and finds nothing except, I guess, a ripped open trash bag. Well that explains it - Josef was a raccoon the whole time.

Well, no, he wasn’t, but it’s still not much worse than what actually happens. Aaron agrees to meet Josef out at this lake, and Josef sneaks up behind him in a goofy looking trench coat like a pedophile would wear and puts on the wolf mask to kill him with an ax. Aaron never sees him coming - he doesn’t even look behind him.

How do you not hear him? Did you have earbuds in, listening to the latest Marilyn Manson album? Were you just eyeing the beautiful sights?

Either he’s deaf, or he just wanted to die already and this was the best option - those are the only options. Him wanting to die actually makes the entire movie make much more sense.

Then Josef monologues about how Aaron was the greatest person ever because he always kept giving Josef second chances. No, I think that was just because he was a lobotomy patient who somehow escaped the hospital. Let's not get crazy here.

We also see that he’s apparently done this so many times that he can fill up a whole shelf full of all the tapes he’s taken.

Are you fucking kidding me? This guy did this THAT MANY TIMES? I just don’t get what he was doing right to kill so many people. For one, why didn’t he kill Aaron when Aaron came to his house the first time? Was that not his plan?

If not, that just raises more questions about all his previous victims. Did he have to lure all of them to his house, go through that whole story about having fake cancer and a fake wife, then follow them around for weeks until they finally just agree to let him kill them in a public place? Every single time? How were his victims ALL so abstractly stupid? The whole thing makes the Trinity Killer from Dexter look like a caveman bashing his enemies over the head with rocks to kill them. The odds required are astronomical - no, actually, “astronomical” still isn’t a big enough word.

Basically, he’s the most prolific serial killer alive, and given the movie’s story, characterizations and circumstances, that is insane on a level I am afraid to even begin to comprehend.

I hate to shit on this project that these guys were obviously extremely passionate about, and there are way worse movies overall, but come on. If you're gonna make a Craigslist horror movie, you didn't have to make up a story this silly. You could have just asked any random user what their worst real experience was, and made a movie of that.

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