Quick Hit: Terrifically taught and based on even better chemistry.
When I last saw the movie Creep, I was so excited that I went out and bought it on DVD so that I could share it with my friends. When I read the Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass were planning on making it a part of a larger trilogy, I was unbelievably stoked to get back to Peachfuzz masks and the uncomfortable stories of Tubby Time. So when I tentatively sat down (last October, my how the time has flown) to watch the sequel, I was excited, nervous… and thrilled to discover that Creep 2 is nearly as good as the original.
In fact, in some ways, it far outreaches the original. We pick up on our journey as Aaron (Duplass) is killing another victim. But unlike the gleeful man we saw seducing Aaron into first friendship and then a near complacent death, we have a shell of himself. Later on he blames this apathy on turning 40. Enter Sara, played by Desiree Akhavan with gleeful abandon. Another wannabe filmmaker, Sara produces a seldom watched Youtube channel called Encounters, where she finds Craiglist ads and responds to them. This leads her to Aaron’s ad, asking for someone to film him for 24 hours while he tells his story.
Unlike the original, this means that Aaron is forthright with his story – he blatantly states how many people he killed, and has no problem doing so. I began the film worried this would steal some of the first film’s tension, as it was taken from wondering if Aaron was really as off-his-rocker as he seemed. Luckily, Brice and Duplass mine the new relationship between Aaron and Sara for this tension. The tension is projected from the fact that you don’t know how much Sara actually believes about Aaron, as well you’re not sure at what point Aaron will get over his mid-life crisis.
The film is once again shot in the “found footage” format, but it’s extremely effective. There’s some really shaky camerawork especially towards the end of the film, but I don’t hold it against the film because it fits and up to that point the filmmaking style of Sara has brought us through mainly shake free to this point. There's also some incredibly beautiful shots using light and darkness, which I think is indicative of the characters in this series.
I’m also a huge fan of the acting performances in this film. Duplass has slowly become a favorite of mine as I’ve watched him dominate in things like Creep and Safety Not Guaranteed. His weirdly congenial Aaron is a treasure to watch: from his man-bun (which has never looked more appropriate for a character – bravo) to his penchant for attempting scares, I never get bored with Duplass’s Aaron. What really surprised me was how well Akhavan matches Duplass. His Aaron is even better when allowed to bounce off his weirdness on a character that goes (in one scene literally) tit-for-tat with him.
I think that this film fumbles the finale a bit, but not enough that it pulls a Cloverfield Lane or anything. It's just the one thing I think didn't match up with the talent of the original.
In conclusion, the writing is still smart, Aaron is still crazy, and I’m excited to see the third. I’m giving Creep 2 an “A-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"