Review: 'Creep 2', Mark Duplass Is Unsettling As Ever

When Creep came out two summers ago, it was one of the most original and inventive uses of a found-footage technique in years.  Released just in time for Halloween, the follow-up, Creep 2, is a return to the same form.

Director Patrick Brice is uncannily comfortable wih the uncomfortable, as he proved with both the lighter The Overnight, and a recent episode of the Duplass-helmed Room 104. Where most low-budget horror dives into schlock -- if not downright camp -- Brice and co-writer Mark Duplass instead aim to unsettle.

If anything, they make fun of the cheap jump-scare.  Whenever our returning murderer, now calling himself Aaron (Duplass), tries one on his latest cameraperson, Sara (Desiree Akhavan), it fails miserably.  Maybe that sort of thing worked once upon a time, but the audience is made of sterner stuff now.  Even if jumping out and yelling "boo" manages to startle, it's fleeting at best.

And when it comes right down to it, Aaron knows it too.  He's made 39 of these movies so far, and it's starting to feel like he's just going through the motions.  So, as his serial-killer's mid-life crisis looms, he decides to change it up a bit.

He places another ad online, looking for someone to "go deep" with "emotional bravery", and comes up with Sara, a videographer who's been struggling to get her passion project off the ground.  She visits people who have placed personal ads on the internet, documenting their interests and curiosities, so the prospect of picking up a thousand dollars for what she's trying to do anyway seems like an obvious choice.

This time, when she shows up at the address, Aaron comes right out and tells her that he's a murderer, and promises that if she follows him around, talking and shooting video of his thoughts for the next 24 hours, he won't kill her.  And then, in order to promote radical openness, he decides that they have to see each other naked.

That's just one of many points where I could see someone bailing out of this movie.  But there's just something so perversely fascinating about this character, and whether anything he says is even true.  How did he get started?  Why does he do it?  And who, exactly, is really in danger here?

Creep 2 is not constructed to scare, but to unnerve.  If you're coming for a fright, you may go away confused, or even disappointed.  But if the scares are beginning to bore you, something truly creepy may be right up your alley.

Rating: 4 out of 5