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Film / Creep (2014)

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"Tubby time!"

"Oh my God... this is gonna be a good day."

Creep is a 2014 independent found footage psychological horror film directed by Patrick Brice and starring Mark Duplass, who also co-wrote alongside Brice. The film debuted at SXSW 2014 before receiving a VOD release in June 2015, eventually receiving a wide release via Netflix a month later.

Aaron (Brice) is an optimistic videographer that decides to come work for Josef (Duplass) after answering his ad on Craigslist, promising an easy $1000 for a day's shooting. Josef tells Aaron that he'll be recording a series of videos for his unborn son, as he's suffering from a terminal illness and will never be able to see him grow up. While Josef seems strange, the money is too good for Aaron to pass up and he agrees to the task.

However, as the day progresses, Josef becomes increasingly strange, and Aaron finds it difficult to tell whether or not some of the things Josef is saying or doing are truly jokes or actually a sign of true danger and mental instability.


A sequel, Creep 2, was released in late 2017, going through a similar release route as the first film. Creep 3 is currently in production.

Not to be confused with the 2004 British film Creep.

There are unmarked spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

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    Tropes related to Creep 
  • Animal Motifs: Wolves for Josef.
  • Apocalyptic Log: All of the footage that Aaron shoots ends up becoming one for himself.
  • Ax-Crazy: Josef.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After Josef attacks Aaron in the house, the footage abruptly ends and switches to a scene of Josef burying three large garbage bags, which are implied to contain Aaron's dismembered remains. Then it turns out Aaron is actually alive, and that he only had a scuffle with Josef before managing to escape.
  • Bathtub Bonding: For Josef and his unborn child, "Buddy", via video recording.
  • Bed Trick: Josef confesses to breaking into his own house and raping his unknowing wife while wearing the wolf mask because he found out she secretly enjoyed bestiality porn, and he wanted to see if she would enjoy the thrill of it and if she would tell him about it the next day. Though she smiled, she didn't say anything about it; but whether she existed in the first place - or if this incident actually happened - is anyone's guess.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Josef.
  • Bloodless Carnage: There's pretty much no blood or gore throughout the entire film. Even at the end when Josef axes Aaron down, there's no blood flowing out of his head. The scene may have been filmed from afar, but still at least some blood should have been visible.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Subverted. When Angela, Josef's sister, calls Aaron to warn him about Josef's homicidal tendencies, Aaron gets a bit distracted when she corrects him by saying she's not Josef's wife but his sister. (see Bed Trick above.)
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The axe that Aaron spots at the beginning. First, he spots it when he first arrives. Then, Josef comments on it, asking Aaron if he thought that Josef would try to kill him with it. It seems that that's the last we'll see of the axe, but then Josef uses it to kill Aaron at the very end of the film.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Josef's "Peachfuzz" mask.
  • Consummate Liar: A lot of the things Josef says throughout the film are left ambiguous as to whether they actually happened or not. He confesses that he tells a lot of lies, and it turns out that his cancer, unborn child, and possibly his wife are all made up. Whether or not the Bed Trick mentioned above happened is anyone's guess.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Josef's "movie collection".
  • Daylight Horror: The ending takes place during a sunny day. All of Josef's jokey Jump Scare antics happen in daylight as well.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Josef shows hints of this, being pretty sexually attracted to Aaron and possibly other victims, yet also may have raped his own sister (see above). Given the names on his video collection at the end, he preys on both men and women. He must have quite a hair collection...
  • Downer Ending: Josef murders Aaron after luring him to a park, and the final scene has him calling some other poor sap to subject them to the same horrors he put Aaron through.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Near the beginning, Aaron notices an axe outside Josef's cabin. Josef comments on it later, and then asks, jokingly, if Aaron thought that Josef was going to kill him with it. Of course, this is exactly what happens.
    • Josef's opinion about why he loves wolves, perfectly explains his feelings about Aaron and what he plans to do to him.
  • Found Footage Films: With Aaron (and occasionally Josef) supplying the footage.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Josef's cabinet of tapes of his victims. Obviously he lures filmmakers in, but apparently he's killed a hairdresser and someone giving him sailing lessons, and Aaron might not have been the first one he killed at the park.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera runs as Josef murders Aaron with an axe, but it's too far away to see anything, and Josef stops the tape before it goes any further.
  • Here We Go Again!: In the final scene of the movie, Josef can be seen talking to another filmmaker on the phone, identifying himself with a different name. He puts a DVD with "Aaron" written on it in a large case of similar VHS tapes and DVDs, presumably earlier victims.
  • The Hero Dies: Aaron doesn't make it.
  • Idiot Ball: Aaron, despite seriously convinced that Josef wants to harm him, agrees to meet Josef in a park. He relaxes unguarded on a bench while Josef splits his head open with an axe. Even Josef, while reviewing the footage, comments on this.
    • Aaron also disposes of the first DVD and locket (at the very least) that Josef sent him. It doesn't seem to occur to him that he should be keeping these items as evidence.
  • Jump Scare: Twice by Josef in the woods, and several other times as well. Josef also ends up scaring himself with the jump scare he inserted into Aaron's murder.
  • Karma Houdini: Josef not only gets away with everything, but it's implied that he's been doing so for a long, long time. To make matters worse, it is implied that his sister knows about Josef's murderous tendencies but apparently hasn't done anything about it.
  • Leave the Camera Running: During the ending, the scene depicting Aaron's arrival at the park and eventual murder runs for several uninterrupted minutes.
  • Minimalist Cast: Due to the premise and the found footage presentation, Aaron and Josef are the only characters to ever appear on screen.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Josef as "Peachfuzz".
  • Meaningful Background Event: Josef staring into Aaron's door as he walks around his house.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: Josef's not just a killer, but given the story he tells Aaron that may or may not be true, he's sexually violent as well.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Aaron, despite everything, is willing to help Josef get counselling for his emotional issues - this earns him an axe to the head.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: A good chunk of the film runs on this. Towards the end, Aaron is startled out of bed by a loud noise, so arms himself with a knife - perhaps the knife that Josef sent him earlier - and wanders around his house trying to find evidence of trespass. While this is going on, Josef is right there at Aaron's door, silently watching him. After he disappears, Aaron leaves his house to check the front path and around the back of his house. The scene is set up so that the audience is expecting something nasty to happen to Aaron, but nothing does. On that day, anyway.
  • One-Word Title
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Aaron questions Josef when the latter wonders what's on the menu of a diner he's supposedly frequented for years.
  • Police Are Useless: They dismiss Aaron's stalking claims since he has no concrete information on Josef. (Of course, Aaron only tries them once, disposes of evidence rather than show it to them, and doesn't bother getting into contact with them again before his fatal final meetup with Josef).
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Josef is almost childishly unstable.
  • The Prankster / Troll: Josef has a habit of pulling Jump Scare jokes on Aaron, right from their very first meeting. He says himself that he finds it funny to frighten people, which is a surprisingly unsubtle bit of foreshadowing.
  • Red Herring: Several.
    • In the final scene in the cabin, Josef offers Aaron a glass of whiskey, but he doesn't drink his shot when Aaron drinks his. It leaves the implication that he drugged the whiskey, but when Aaron offers him another shot he drinks it without hesitation, passing out shortly thereafter.
    • The knife Josef sends to Aaron doesn't come into play in any significant way despite how much focus is put on it.
    • In the final tape Josef makes, he mentions that he disappointed his sisters, as in sisters plural (we already know about Angela at this point). This detail ends up meaning nothing.
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of Josef's behavior and actions turn into this with the ending in mind. Aaron losing his keys was suspicious enough the first time, but Josef's insistence on him not leaving the house and Angela's tired requests for him to walk out and leave implies that quite a few filmmakers never made it past the rental house.
  • Sequel Hook: Josef is calling another filmmaker at the end of the film.
  • Serial Killer: The ending strongly implies that Josef had many, many, many victims before Aaron, and he isn't about to stop killing any time soon. The sequel has Josef claiming that he's killed 39 people, and apparently started at age 15.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Josef standing on the stairs to the house with the lamp behind him gives this creepy effect that ends up on the movie's poster.
  • The Spook: Josef. Other than the fact that he is a serial killer, we have no reliable information about him. Given that he calls himself Aaron in the sequel, Josef probably isn't even his real name.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: I Just Want to Have Friends. Maybe.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Josef's specialty is this, leading to a number of jump scares. During Aaron's fatal final meetup, he even looks around for Josef, but the latter doesn't appear until the minute his back is turned, demonstrating either Josef's extreme craftiness or that Aaron Failed a Spot Check.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Aaron being axed in the head from behind.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Aaron, dear God. Even by horror movie standards this guy is an idiot. First when he ignores Angela's advice to leave and then actually goes after Josef after the latter runs off after being confronted. And later when he actually takes the obviously crazy guy up on his offer to meet instead of calling the police to the place where they do. It's even Lampshaded in film by Josef, who openly questions how Aaron could have been so stupid to meet him and not look behind him, during the reveal. He concludes that Aaron was Too Good for This Sinful Earth, and that is why he is his favorite victim.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Josef's cancer, unborn child and (arguably) wife are a lie.

    Tropes related to Creep 2 

  • Bathtub Bonding: Sara and Josef get closer after the former gives the latter a massage in the jacuzzi.
  • Beard of Evil: Josef sports a beard this time around. Given his disillusionment with his chosen "profession" this time, it also might count as a Beard of Sorrow.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Not to a huge extent, but in comparison to the previous film, there is actual on-screen bloodshed this time.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Sara survives her encounter with Josef, but the end shows that he's stalking her just like he did to Aaron before the latter's murder, leaving her ultimate fate unknown.
  • Call-Back: Josef shows Sara the footage of Aaron's murder, as seen during the previous film's ending. He also discusses him with her later on, although he doesn't give any names. He also gifts her with the same locket he sent to Aaron.
  • Character Name Alias: Josef calls himself "Aaron" for the duration of the film, his "favorite" victim.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sara, wondering if Josef really is a murderer, hides a knife in her sock, which Josef later steals to use for their Suicide Pact.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Josef claims to spiritually absorb parts of his victims. Feeling the connection to the thirty-nine others fading, this is the reason behind his mid-life crisis.
  • Daylight Horror: Dave's murder, and the ending.
  • Dig Your Own Grave: At one point, Josef tells Sara of his first murder, which started with his victim (at the time his aggressor) forcing him to do this. At the climax, this is subverted; not only did Josef dig a hole without knowing whether it'd be used for his body or Sara's, but nobody actually dies in it.
  • Downer Beginning: The film opens with Josef murdering yet another innocent victim.
  • Driven to Suicide: Josef considers killing himself on video as a satisfying conclusion to his story. He tries to enlist Sara's help at first, but when she's unable to, he tries hanging himself so that she wouldn't have to participate. It turns out to be a prank.
  • Exact Words: Josef repeatedly promises Sara that he won't kill her during the day she's making the documentary for him. After a while, she starts to question what he plans to do after the 24 hours are over. Unsurprisingly, he first tries a Suicide Pact before straight-up trying to kill her when she doesn't comply.
  • First Kiss: Josef tells Sara that he's a virgin who's never even been kissed, so she gives him this.
  • Hope Spot: First when Sara flees from Josef after he's pushing her into his Suicide Pact, but she realizes he has the keys. And again in the end, when she gets away, only for Josef to let her know that he's found her.
  • Idiot Ball: Josef stabs himself before giving the knife to Sara, assuming she'll go through with the suicide pact and stab herself as well. Had he only asked her to stab herself first and she refused, there would have been no chance that she could have overpowered him and survived. Maybe his Villainous Crush got the best of him?
  • Ignored Confession: Josef outright admits to Sara that he's a murderer, but as she's used to unusual encounters, she doesn't really believe it (though it does make her somewhat nervous). This continues even after she sees a video of Aaron's murder (which she seems to believe is staged) and he continues to casually discuss his "profession."
  • Insistent Terminology: Josef considers himself a murderer, not a serial killer.
  • Jump Scare: Josef unsuccessfully attempts these on Sara, who turns the tables by giving him one back.
  • Made of Iron: Even after stabbing himself multiple times in the abdomen, Josef has enough energy to not only chase Sara down but attack her.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Josef has an extremely gratuitous moment of full-frontal nudity, believing he and Sara will work better together if he bares himself to her. (Sara reciprocates on request, though Josef only films her from the neck up.)
  • Minimalist Cast: Unlike the first film, there are a few bit parts apart from the two main characters, but for the most part the only two characters are Sara and "Aaron."
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Josef claims that he killed his first man while hitchhiking home from a concert at age 15, however he also claims he had a mental breakdown at age 14 and was in a mental institution until he was 19.
  • No-Sell: Sara is barely fazed by Josef's attempts to Jump Scare her, to his surprise. She later gets her own back by pulling one on him, which works.
  • Not Quite Dead: Josef survives his stab wounds and being whacked over the head with a shovel, eventually tracking down Sara during the ending.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The film ends with Josef following and recording Sara walking around a city, with her never noticing until the last frames.
  • Numbered Sequels
  • Overly Long Gag: The scene where a bird continuously interrupts Josef's attempted monologue.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While the first film focuses more on the first part of the trope, the sequel focuses more on the latter. Though the movie opens with a murder, Josef spends much of the movie moping about a lack of inspiration to kill or being playful and childish with Sara. It goes even further when he tells her that he's a virgin who's never even been kissed, gets annoyed at birds interrupting a take he's doing, and lies facedown on the ground having a tantrum.
  • Same Plot Sequel: Much like the first film, Josef lures someone from the internet to record him before planning to murder them, though this time he's doing it because of a "creative slump" in his murdering and hopes to get new inspiration. He tells as much to Sara, not like it matters.
  • Slashed Throat: How Josef kills Dave.
  • Start of Darkness: If he is to be believed, Josef was nearly killed as a teenager by a stranger giving him a ride, only for him to overpower and kill him, which he accepted as his calling.
  • Suicide Pact: Josef intends to finish the documentary on his life by committing this on camera with Sara. Sara doesn't comply.
  • Tap on the Head: Sara manages to hit Josef over the head with a shovel to get away.
  • Third Act Stupidity: Josef stabs himself first, allowing Sara to eventually overpower him.
  • Tone Shift: While still within the genre, the film has far fewer moments of suspense and horror than experienced in the first film, focusing more on developing Josef as a character.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sure, most of us wouldn't believe someone who casually admitting to killing people (which even previous Too Dumb to Live Aaron didn't have the benefit of knowing), but Sara continues to be almost nonchalant with Josef even after his behavior becomes more and more creepy, and she watches a video of the real Aaron's murder (possibly justified by her belief that the footage is faked). Even after he tells her to leave, she insists on staying, all for her video channel which gets no traffic anyway. She also records herself hiding a knife in her boot, which Josef of course watches and retrieves. She could have also stood to wait a few minutes for Josef to lose blood after stabbing himself rather than charging him immediately. Subverted in that, unlike Aaron, she manages to survive... for now.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Josef tells Sara he's a virgin, which contradicts the first film (though his rape story did turn out to be a lie). Given how unreliable Josef is, though, who knows what the truth is?
  • Villainous Crush: Much like as he did for Aaron, Josef develops a huge crush on Sara.
  • Villain Decay: Zig-zagged. The film opens with Josef murdering yet another victim, yet he spends much of the movie as a whiny, petulant Adult Child who gives jokey jump scares to Sara and begs for attention, in contrast to the first film, where there was always an unsettling and tense undercurrent to his interactions with Aaron even before his full intentions are revealed. Which makes his attempted murder-suicide with Sara all the more stark and scary, and in the end he's back to a full-fledged danger as he stalks Sara in broad daylight.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Angela isn't referenced at all here.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Josef makes himself appear weaker after stabbing himself so that Sara would feel confident enough to come out to attack him to steal the car keys, but he still has enough energy to fight back and knock her out.

Alternative Title(s): Creep 2