2014’s Creep didn’t so much revitalize the crowded found footage subgenre of horror as it did reinvent the mold of what could be accomplished with the style. With an oddball approach to pitch black humor and awkward intensity, director Patrick Brice and shining star Mark Duplass effectively kept audiences cringing throughout the brisk runtime, establishing the film as an unforgettable entry in a genre where films struggle to preserve their own identity.
Creep 2, which returns the director and star, came as a shocking announcement a few months back, as no one was really expecting a sequel (despite our silent optimism). Steeped in the same dark comedy, the sequel manages to up the awkwardness of its predecessor by pairing Duplass’ psychotic character with a female protagonist. The setup leads to cringe-worthy boundaries being crossed (Duplass dick, ftw), and an off-kilter romanticism that is surprisingly sweet.
This time around, however, Aaron (formerly known as Joseff, but assuming the name of the victim in the original film) is open about his murderous nature. Desiree Akhavan plays the potential victim, named Sara, and Aaron confides in her that he is, in fact, a serial killer (though he hates that term), and that he’s lost his spark. He requests that she film him for a day to gain a deep understanding of him as a person, and since she doesn’t believe that he’s actually a killer, she agrees. Throughout the film, the two form an uneasy bond over Sara’s unshakable demeanor and her ability to reignite that spark in Aaron, which may prove to be a deadly action.
Creep 2 begins strong with an incredible cold open that places viewers right back in the uncomfortable niche in which the series resides, showcasing the crazy, and deadly, side of the wildly entertaining villain. It’s evident from this opening scene that Mark Duplass will, again, own the role of the killer, and the actor continues to be versatile in his comedic, dramatic, and downright scary capabilities.
Akhavan, too, nails her role in the film. Sara isn’t painted with the typical victim’s brush. She’s strong, she’s mostly smart (even though the decision to stick around is pretty dumb), and we believe that she’s savvy enough to take down the killer if she needs to. Akhavan brings a sincere strength and genuine human depth to the role, and the relationship between the two characters thrives in large part because of it. In many ways, their dynamic is reminiscent of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and it’s never less than compelling.
Though Creep 2 is an immensely enjoyable sequel, the freshness of the first film isn’t quite as prevalent here- nor is the shock or increasingly dreadful suspense. While it’s successful in remaining unpredictable, it culminates in a relatively standard ending that doesn’t compare to the terrific quality of the first film. Still, if you’re a fan of Brice’s 2014 flick, you’re going to love his sequel as well.
Let’s make it a trilogy.
Creep 2 will be available on all digital platforms on October 24th.
Also check out: