Director: Patrick Brice
Cast: Mark Duplass, Desiree Akhavan
Watch Creep 2 online in the UK: Netflix UK / iTunes / Amazon Instant Video / Google Play
The Mumblecore Master Mark Duplass, along with his brother Jay, defined a corner of American indie cinema in the late 00s/early 2010s. Despite being more focused on TV work of late, Mark and co-writer/director Patrick Brice have spent some time crafting another kind of indie cinema, working with horror producer supremo Jason Blum to create the Creep films. The first was a bit of an indie smash a couple years back – read our review here – with Mark Duplass creating an oddly compelling psychopath, who lures people into his world and uses the rules of social interaction to twist his victims up in knots, before dispatching them.
With its sequel, Creep 2, Duplass and Brice take a rather different approach, despite a trailer that seemed to promise more of the same, and this change in direction is largely a success, as his victim this time around gives as good as she gets. Sara (Desiree Akhavan) is a vlogger who gets herself into a familiar situation with Aaron (Duplass), who is starkly open and honest with her about what he does and who he is. She visits him and agrees to everything, purely to try and expand her creative and professional horizons. As a result, the film asks some original questions of its protagonist and antagonist, with even who’s who becoming a question increasingly posed as events unfold.
Sara is a presence who, at times, is actively annoying, pushing Aaron deeper into his psychosis by messing with him, exciting Aaron perhaps not on a sexual level but certainly on an intellectual one – Aaron often goes to more emotional places than the woman who is ostensibly under threat. Duplass and Akhavan play well off each other throughout with the odd kinship they develop feeling bizarrely real.
All of this interesting character work does, however, result in a film that isn’t really that scary. Whereas the first film has long sequences of quiet tension and increasing dread, Creep 2 largely keeps those sequences to its first half, with the second much more of a character-based drama, which sometimes seems to forget the genre it is supposed to inhabit – although given the material contained therein, it might be the better for that.
With an ending that hints more may be on the cards for this most idiosyncratic of modern horror franchises, Creep 2 bends things in involving, original ways, which shows Brice and Duplass are aiming to do more than scare. A third instalment would be much welcomed, although if they end it here, we still have a satisfying double-bill to enjoy – Duplass’ Peachfuzz is one of the most fascinating horror villains in recent memory.
Creep 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.49 monthly subscription.
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