by Brody Rossiter
Today, notwithstanding some undeniably memorable high-points, the deadly gaze of the found-footage sub-genre has been done to death. Therefore, it may come as something of a surprise to stumble into the overly-familiar embrace of a found-footage chiller and be greeted with genuine ingenuity and many memorable, slow-burning frights.
Actor, director and all-round indie stalwart, Mark Duplass, stars in Creep (2014), Patrick Brice’s unique portrayal of the blossoming bromance between a terminally ill cancer patient, Josef (Duplass), and Aaron (Brice), a freelance cameraman filming a day in the life diary for Josef’s unborn son, Buddy. Josef lives a secluded yet comfortable life in the wilderness. He’s a man of simple pleasures slowly coming to terms with the fact that he’ll never have the opportunity meet his firstborn – a tragic fact that perhaps explains and excuses some of his more ‘idiosyncratic’ behaviour.
As the pair bond over a lengthy hikes and plates of diner pancakes, Josef begins to reveal some unsettling traits. From a juvenile tendency to jump out from behind door frames and oak trees to scare Aaron, to the sinister revelation that he secretly photographed the cameraman before their introduction, Creep slowly unfurls from its awkwardly comedic ball and reveals itself as a dark and menacing thriller that uses the found-footage aesthetic to delightfully disturbing effect.
The roads down which Josef and Aaron travel and the revelations they offer up to one another are best experienced at first-hand, but ultimately this indie gem revitalises a creatively exhausted set of horror conventions while also incorporating its own unique set of visuals; a sequence involving Josef’s wolf alter-ego, “Peachfuzz” proves particularly alarming. Working as a freelancer can often prove a frustrating and thankless job, this time a memory card full of chilling footage may prove fatal.