I decided to lean towards taking another look at a few found-footage films that I've missed over the years for the month of April. I have done this theme before, but there are so many titles to choose from that this probably will be a recurring theme every year. To kick things off, we actually have a special request from a friend who wanted me to check these first two movies out, 2014's 'Creep' and 2017's 'Creep 2', in regards to 'Creep 3' being released... whenever the hell that might be.
The first film is shot from the perspective of a videographer named Aaron (Patrick Brice). He's on the way to a remote mountain town, answering an online ad to videotape a dying man named Josef's (Mark Duplass) final messages, with a main focus on the man's supposed unborn son. Aaron hesitantly agrees to Josef's terms, but the messages get more dark and disturbing as filming goes on, and Josef himself seems pretty unhinged, and overly desperate for a friend. What this essentially boils down to is a found-footage horror version of 'The Cable Guy'.
All in all, this one ended up being pretty much what I expected, and ends up being somewhat predictable at points. However, I will give the film credit enough for blending a very dark and out-there sense of humor with its uncomfortable moments. If he was lightened up a bit, I could almost see Josef being a criminal on a show like 'Brooklyn 99'. This is rated R, though, so a lot the dark humor within is a little more uneasy - especially when it comes to a wolf mask that Josef dubs "Peach Fuzz".
To give you the perfect idea of the tone that this movie sets, "Peach Fuzz" has a theme song. The first time the song is heard involves Josef dancing around and singing it like some kid, having a great time with it. The second time, however, is the end credits, in which the tone is completely different and you sit there wondering if you should laugh at the ridiculous lyrics, or be scared by them.
It could be said that the film doesn't exactly know what it's supposed to be, between a horror and a comedy. However, the creepiness of the whole situation does get very real. Duplass pulls off a very disturbing performance here that, while you often laugh at, you're also often made to feel very uncomfortable by. Some of the real comedy actually comes from Aaron's reactions to Josef's behavior, which unfortunately involves several cheap jump scares. How cheap? He basically keeps jumping out from behind something, screaming. I can only appreciate a jump scare if it's done inconspicuously. In this, the moments were too obvious - tension followed by a jolt. I still might have jumped, but it felt wasted, especially if it's just someone essentially going "BOO!" to someone else. That is just elementary Halloween pranking.
Wrapping up this "Part 1", I can't say that it's anything too special, but it's certainly not without a few appreciative factors. The performances were great, overall, between our two leads, and the dark sense of humor this brings to the table is almost something to be admired. It doesn't quite take things too far, but it does get into your head as another pretty solid cautionary tale about who you meet on the internet. But while this one is a little bit unoriginal, I must admit that the second one impressed me for what it was...