Sunday, November 5, 2017

Creep 2 (2017)

Director: Patrick Brice
Notable Cast: Mark Duplass, Desiree Akhavan, Karan Soni, Patrick Brice, Caveh Zahedi, Kyle Field, Jeff Man

Creep was one of those films that seemingly came out of nowhere, surprised the hell out of everyone that saw it, and created its own cult status through its ingenuity and impressive execution. It was also a film that, by the end, told the story it wanted to tell. Its strength was in its ability to ride a line where the audience didn’t know what was going to happen and who Duplass’ character really was, so when that is all covered by the end, the story was done. This is what made Creep 2 a wild card film. Sure, the first one was a low-key success and it received wide spread critical acclaim, but how do you pull out a sequel when the main contributing factor to the predecessor’s strength was its surprise?

You do it just like Creep 2 does it. It acknowledges that the audience is aware of the circumstances of the first film, continues to use its sense of unease and another stellar performance from Duplass as an anchor, and then spins those things back into creating that same sense of unease where viewers still don’t know how it’s going to end. Like the first one, it’s rather brilliant.

It's a gift. To you.
Oddly enough, it’s also a film that requires the audience to have an understanding of the “creep” character to be able to do what it does with tone and expectation. If you haven’t seen the first one, please do so before seeing this. Knowing the predecessor fleshes out the film and allows much of the dark humor and builds of tension to work as well as they can. This is also why Creep 2 is the perfect sequel. It builds on the reveals of the original to re-create the same feel. By knowing how the first one ends, it plays on those expectations. On paper, it looks the same. The film opens by showing our creep - did I mention Duplass once again nails this performance? – in a similar situation as the original film, but it plays on the details to humorous and still shocking effect. Once it moves into the main story, developing a young internet film maker as our protagonist Sara (Akhavan) who has fantastic and purposefully awkward chemistry with Duplass, the film really starts to establish those expectations and twists. I refuse to give away too much of the plot because that’s the fun in these films, but just expect that it will try and pull you one way and go the other based on your understanding of what Creep was as a film.

Hero or just another victim?
As with before, the execution of its concept is excellent. As a found footage film, Creep 2 continues to have perfect pacing and director Patrick Brice has a fantastic understanding of when to show something, when to not show something, and when to make things obvious or subtle. The writing, as pointed out above, is impressively charming and uneasy in developing the plot and narrative to create that same dark humor/horrifying dynamic that this series will be known for as the expert example. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Akhavan as our camera operator protagonist for the film, who, unlike in the first film, gets a lot more development as a character to balance the tone. Her performance, mostly in voice and timing in relation to Duplass although also in front of the camera, is a huge factor to why this film works as well as it does with its spins and twists. If the original Creep had its protagonist intentionally vague so that the audience will put themselves in his shoes, this one makes Sara more of a extension of the titular villain for us to root for as a potential counter to Duplass’ creep. Like most things in this sequel, it’s a brilliant move that changes things up nicely without necessarily pulling away from what worked previously.

Peach fuzz for Lyft?
By now, it’s probably obvious that Creep 2 is a must-see film for the year. It’s the near perfect sequel, maintaining the heart of the original, but expanding and twisting things to deliver a new and still thrilling experience for its audience. The execution is impressive, the concept is stunningly well developed, and the experience of watching Creep 2 is just as unnerving and hilarious as the original. Fans should shed their hesitations and dive in. Newbies, after watching the first one, will definitely want to leap right into this one too.

Like this film, I’m not sure if they can make a follow up, but if it is as creative and effective as this entry than I am all for Creep 3. Bring it on.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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