Mark Duplass Wished Creep 2 Turned Out Better

Every time some seen-it-all critic declares a subgenre to be dead, a movie comes along that makes them look foolish. For many who bemoaned the demise of found footage, "Creep" revitalized it as a mode of storytelling. The low-simmer psychological horror emerged from the mind of director-cowriter-costar Patrick Brice ("There's Someone Inside Your House"), a hodgepodge of his warped Craigslist experiences and love for character-fueled thrillers like "Fatal Attraction" and "Misery." Its story, of a videographer hired to record an increasingly unhinged client (played by Mark Duplass, who also developed the story with Brice), premiered at South by Southwest in 2014 and made its way to Netflix the following year, and it's been at the top of the critical pops ever since. Its genius is in Brice's and Duplass' sneaky genre-shifting. Cringe-comedy becomes saturated with omens, leaving its audience with nowhere to go for comfort by the end.

Following the film's festival splash, it was picked up by Radius/The Weinstein Company with aspirations of a trilogy. After Radius failed to release the movie on VOD, it went to streaming, but the sequel was already underway. "Creep 2" continues the exploits of Josef (Duplass) of the first film, now going by the name Aaron after his last companion lost his head. While the second chapter in the Peachfuzz chronicles is just as anxious and is equally regarded as a cult favorite, Duplass considers the 2017 horror sequel to be lesser than its predecessor. He told IndieWire:

"We had to almost kill ourselves to make that movie as good as it was. I appreciate how many people liked it but I do feel like it wasn't as good as it could have been, if I'm being perfectly honest."

What's next?

While a trilogy is still in the crosshairs for Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass, the latter told IndieWire the delay is due to a high standard:

"We've written it twice, and neither of those stories are good enough, and the reason is we almost didn't make a 'Creep 2.' We got lucky making 'Creep,' as cogent as it is considering how we made it, and I didn't want to disappoint people and I didn't want to put out a stupid sequel."

Simply put, a shoestring budget and the good ol' indie spirit aren't enough for Duplass, who also produced the first two "Creep" films via the Blumhouse banner. Not content to stick with the online-ad-gone-bad framing device that's worked so well before, the Duplass Brothers Productions co-founder doesn't want to turn in a draft that doesn't leaven the old template with a story worth watching, or a statement worth making:

"If we're going to make a third one, it'd better be super inspired. We are trying and we are putting effort into it, but we are not good enough yet to make it worthwhile, so we are struggling. That's really it."

"Creep 2" was certainly inspired, flipping its own formula with its doomed protagonist. This time a YouTube filmmaker named Sara (Desiree Akhavan) is told from the jump that her subject is a serial killer. As opposed to Brice's Aaron, who learns too late that he was in serious danger, Sara's misguided dismissal of Duplass' faux-Aaron as a lonely loony loser ratchets up the tension early on. She heard him say he's a maniac; she just doesn't take it seriously, to everyone's horror. But considering the rumblings that found footage is dead once again, it's the perfect time for Brice and Duplass to give a fresh take.