Creep 2

Creep 2 (2017)
★ / ★★★★

The original “Creep” may not be groundbreaking independent horror cinema, but at least the audience did not know what to expect. We wondered whether Aaron (Mark Duplass) really was a serial killer or just some lonely creep who decided to post an online ad in order to see who would bite. But in “Creep 2,” also directed by Patrick Brice, the novelty—and the mystery—has worn off. I found it to be nearly intolerable—not because it is not scary since the predecessor is not about scares but establishing an overall feeling of dread—precisely because it fails to offer anything new or exciting. Sure, the dialogue is stronger than the original but the script fails to move the material beyond what we already know about the murderer.

At least the picture begins with great promise. Desiree Akhavan plays Sara, an artist who is attempting to reach an audience for an online web series called “Encounters.” For her project, she answer online ads—especially those with strange requests like a man asking to be treated like an infant—with the hope of finding genuine connections and understanding a feeling we all have from time to time: loneliness. We get the impression that the character is smart, determined, and not easily scared by bizarre human longings and behavior. It establishes that she is a protagonist worth following because she might serve as an equal to Aaron’s sick games and psychotic behavior.

Funny confessions like Aaron claiming that he has lost his purpose for killing people because he is about to turn forty are present and often have bite. As in “Creep,” this work is further evidence that Duplass is perfect for the role; when he looks directly to camera and talks about murdering his victims as if he were reciting a recipe is chilling and effective. However, these amusing moments wear out their welcome because only minimal tension is gathered. It is a miscalculation, I think, for the screenplay to establish a sort of romantic connection between Aaron and Sara—even a one-sided attraction—because it softens our anticipation of bloody violence. And for long stretches nothing of great interest happens.

The more interesting avenue worth exploring is the question of whether we can or will choose to believe a person who has confessed to serial killing when this individual looks as normal as Average Joe: friendly, smiles a lot, and minds his own business. I thought the material would take off in an interesting direction when Sara is shown a video of Aaron, wearing a wolf mask, driving an ax into a stranger’s head in broad daylight. Sara has reason to doubt the video’s authenticity, but the idea is never explored in such a way that makes us feel uncomfortable both in terms of content and for Sara’s safety. Instead, the material moves on to another instance when Aaron acts like a drama queen.

I found not one thing that is especially clever in “Creep 2.” Cringe-inducing moments are aplenty, but I demand more from a material with a wonderful potential to entertain and terrify. Although an average picture, “Creep” has laid the foundation quite successfully. So it is expected for the sequel to take off from that foundation and do something new or original. Instead, it seems content in rehashing old tricks with a slightly stronger script. More discerning viewers will readily see through its pretenses.

3 replies »

  1. i agree w/ your thoughts here, but i still enjoyed the film b/c i really was not sure what the heck was about to happen next, and that’s something i can nearly always appreciate…

    The first one deserves 4-stars just for the movie poster alone! that image (of him standing at the top of the dark stairway, staring down) is so simple, yet so creepy and effective. I think that may be my favorite movie poster of all-time. *the new Halloween looked like it tried to implement that same image as Michael Myers stood at the top of the stairway looking down into the basement. i say that b/c blumhouse co-produced the film, so mark or jay duplass probably thought to try to incorporate a similar image b/c of how effective it is.

    • I think the movie does a good building that sense of anticipation what might happen next. But I felt as though the suspense and thrills are neither sharp nor consistent enough to warrant a recommendation. I guess you give more points for feeling uncertain what might happen next. For me, set-up and delivery tend to have equal footing. And you have to admit the picture did have dry moments where you just think, “Get on with it already.”

      As for its poster, wow, I’m surprised you really love it. I think it’s all right. It’s nothing new or eye-catching to me. Like most modern movie posters.

      • the poster i was referring to was for part one. I’d add an image on here if i could. i used to use it as my IMDB pic. Yeah, set-up and delivery are important to me, as well, but I felt the long awkward moments were in-fact a great set-up, mostly b/c I didn’t know what was about to happen, and didn’t even know if possibly Duplass’s character was capable of change, which could have been interesting, and what caused him to become the way he was, etc. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a part 3. i think this was always planned to be a trilogy.

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