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Dumbfound Footage


There are multiple stages to acceptance in perspectives beyond merely those of death and other traumatic situations. For example, years ago we had all reached a point in which found footage films had reached their limit. After the first dozen it seemed like every possible variant had been done. But because of the ease and cheap cost of production, found footage films continued to poor in. At first we were annoyed, then frustrated, then absolutely enraged by the constant flow of shaky, handheld garbage that spewed forth into the medium we love. But eventually, at about the same time the found footage term went from description to sub genre, we accepted the fate that these films weren't going away.

Yet, despite our demented apathy towards the craft, we occasionally hear rumblings through the grapevine of found footage films that "found a way to reinvent the craft" or "take the the scares to a whole new level". Creep was one such film that was so highly praised if only through whispers here and there, and sadly it does not hold up to the hype, at least from a horror perspective.

As a comedy, Creep holds up quite well. Every jump scare in the entire film leads to laughter rather than screams. While I believe this is the intent, which in this regard makes Creep sort of brilliant, it eventually leads one to sigh at the complete lack of horror that is actually going on.

The greatest issue with found footage films today is their complete lack of script. Improvisation absolutely has its place in film, but when it appears that nearly the entire "script" composes of "ad lib this", you begin to find yourself yawning and incredibly perturbed at the constant breath pauses, "ums", and meaningless garbage spewing forth. Unscripted banter in a film should be limited, not the entirety of the piece.

Having said that, the lead antagonist's efforts to deliver both a comical and creepy performance do succeed. You are genuinely creeped out by him in some scenes, while chuckling at his antics the next. This, however, does not equate to any real fear or entice any horrified effect therein. The film's "scary" moments are held in primarily two scenes, and these two scenes are not enough to retain any real sense of dread for the audience. Both scenes can be just as easily described as more awkward than scary. It's like it teases you with a level of unsettling atmosphere that just can't hold on because of the surrounding hour of slight humor.

Creep attempts to latch on to a dark comedy/horror vein through the found footage sub and isn't able to fully succeed. What we end up with is a film that behaves like a morbid version of The Office. The dialogue, at times, lulls you to sleep, but breaks long enough for a few interesting quips and the antagonist's signature jump scares. As a whole, the film is an enigma. It's hard to recommend for the sake of entertainment in a horror sense, yet it's hard to deny that this film didn't succeed in what it intended to do.

© 2020 Sickle and Efrit | Dalton Vanhooser & Kyle Hagan