Creep 2

Creep 2

Creep 2 takes everything Creep did, and amps it up. It also improves on the formula. There’s a freeing aspect to this film, mostly because we’re in on the twist from the jump. While the first Creep kept audiences guessing just what was up with Duplass’ character, we know his true nature from the very start.

Creep 2 doesn’t play around. The very first scene focuses on a befuddled man (Karan Soni) receiving a video in the mail. Through dialogue, we learn that this is just one of several videos he’s received, all of them pointing to a stalker. His friend comes over, and the friend turns out to be Duplass’ Josef, now going by “Aaron” – the name of his last victim. Duplass quickly reveals that he’s been stalking Soni’s character this entire time, before swiftly, and violently, murdering him. This all happens in the first few minutes of the film, shot through a hidden camera placed inside the Peachfuzz mask.

Josef (from hereon referred to as Aaron) isn’t just a serial killer. He’s a filmmaker. This solidifies what the ending of Creep set-up: a killer who has spent his murderous career filming his crimes. It enables Creep 2 to continue with the found footage angle, and use it to great effect. Although we can’t help wondering just where this footage is coming from. Is it truly being “found”, or is it being sent to us by Aaron? The way he sent footage to his victim at the start of this film? Are we his next victims?

The framing device for Creep 2 involves yet another filmmaker who gets sucked into the killer’s game. This is Sara (Desiree Akhavan), the maker of a failed YouTube series, Encounters. In her videos, Sara answers want-ads from desperate men; men who are looking for some sort of connection that borders on a fetish. Men who want to be held, and mothered. Men who are lonely, and desperate, and just a little bit sad.

Sara’s videos aren’t exploiting or mocking these men, but they’re also not exactly setting the internet on fire. So even when she answers a vague ad placed by Aaron, she thinks she might be close to ending her series. That all changes when she meets Duplass’ character, who doesn’t beat around the bush here like he did in the first film. Right from the jump, the killer reveals his true nature. He tells Sara he’s a serial killer, and he wants Sara to film him.

This set-up allows Creep 2 to flip the formula established by the first film. Even though we know right away that the main character is a psycho killer, Sara continues to have her doubts. She thinks Aaron is just a lonely loon, and she also thinks filming him can make for a great episode of Encounters. The tension is ratcheted up, as we wait, on edge, wondering when it will dawn on Sara what kind of danger she’s in.

By the film’s end, Brice and Duplass reveal they have pulled a fast one on us yet again. We should’ve seen this coming, but perhaps we were too caught up in the narrative. Once again, we learn that this film belongs to Aaron, or Josef, or whatever his true name is. He’s the filmmaker, and this is his movie we’ve been watching, not Sara’s. Again, it’s found footage of found footage. A ouroboros; the snake eating its own tail in an eternal cycle that we can’t break out of.

Found Footage

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What makes Creep 2 so creepy is the way it continues to find clever new ways to put the faux documentary angle to good use. In 2017, we as a society are even more obsessed with filming and recording ourselves than when the first film hit in 2014. We’ve become a society that lives through screens, always desperately trying to capture a moment with our own personal recording devices we have tucked away in our pockets. If we don’t Instagram, or SnapChat, or even just take a photo of a moment, can we even truly say it happened?

We’ve been conditioned to act like this. To in a sense put on a show for our peers, desperately hoping someone, somewhere, finds a connection. This logic is hardwired into the Creep series, where the filmmakers should use common sense, turn the camera off, and get the hell out of there. But they don’t. Because they want that connection. They want to record it all, and hope that the recording will somehow serve as a landmark. A sign that for a moment in time, they existed.

As the situation in Creep 2 becomes more and more dangerous, Sara grows more and more apprehensive. But she keeps filming. She has to. She needs that connection. She needs her work to mean something, and the only way it could mean anything is if someone notices. At the start of the film, after Aaron tells her he’s a serial killer, she confesses to her camera that she usually doesn’t do things like this, but maybe that’s the reason why no one is watching Encounters. She needs to take a risk, hoping it leads to a reward.

Perhaps that’s the true brilliance of the Creep series. We as a society are forever doomed to be stuck searching for connection through documentation. Photos of the meals we eat plastered across Instagram. A sea of a million rectangular lights going up at concerts as the crowd forgets to watch the show and instead attempts to contain it. The Creep series, like the best found footage films, understands that as a society, we not only have to keep filming, we also have to keep watching. We’re a society of voyeurs looking for a fix. Like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, we’re forever stuck gazing out at our neighbors, and in turn wondering if they’re gazing back at us. The Creep series understands that if you’ve ever had the funny feeling that you’re being watched, it’s probably because you are. How terrifying is that?

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