Tom Humberstone

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horror week - day 7

Creep (2014)

"Anybody you need to make peace with in the world? Before you die?"

Quick summary: Aaron has accepted an odd craigslist job offer - to follow Josef around with a camera for a day in exchange for $1,000. But why does Josef want to be filmed?

Actors Patrick Brice (also the director) and Mark Duplass co-wrote this two-hander - improvising scenes and playing the rough edits back to friends in order to workshop it as they went. Apparently there are three alternate endings and about 10-12 variations of each scene in the movie. It's an approach that strives for a natural, unscripted feeling throughout - something that makes sense for mumble-core godfather Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair, The One I Love, Togetherness etc.).

It felt right to watch Duplass play a creepy character like Josef - I've always found him a little unsettling in most roles.

Creep is a strong psychological horror/black comedy and worth a watch. I liked the narrative switch-up around the one hour mark and the ending felt satisfying. Apparently Brice and Duplass are working on a sequel of a possible Creep trilogy? I'd be interested to find out where they go with it.

Josef adores the Lewton Bus moment (Boo! Not really! Got you!) - I think he fits about ten into the 80 minute film.

The choice of using found footage was fine but I have to admit I felt the film could have gained a lot from some more dynamic direction and interesting shot choices.

I also watched:

#Horror (2015)

"Guys! Let's go touch all the art!"

Quick summary: A bunch of social-media obsessed tweens hang out in a very expensive-looking house and bully each other until someone starts killing them off one by one.

Wooooooo boy.

So I was excited to see this after coming across EMA's excellent soundtrack for it last year. It also has Chloe Sevigny and Natasha Lyonne making brief appearances. It's a film about cyber-bullying and social-media and largely seems inspired by Italian Giallo films of the sixties and seventies. It has a brilliantly OTT credit sequence with eye-watering Candy Crush style visuals. I mean, this film should be my favourite horror film ever.

But it's a mess. Fashion designer and actor Tara Subkoff wrote and directed this and has a great eye for creepy, haunting visuals. There are some lovely shots and genuinely refreshing images. So much of this film is close to being brilliant. Ultimately though, the script lets it down - with a muddled structure and some terrible dialogue (I think every character tells the other to "go kill yourself" at some point).

The characters feel like tweenagers very much written by an adult with the sort of blunt observations about social media that feel like an extended "Dungeons and Dragons/Video Games/Video Nasties/Pokemon Go are corrupting our youth!" headline. Unfriended is the horror film that understands cyber-bullying and social media and actually handles it with surprising nuance.

Yes - well done - the guillotine noise and double-meaning of "Submit" every time they use social media is super clever.

Ugh. It's almost so good. I actually thought it was interesting that none of the characters notice that their friends are being killed off. And the bullying was effectively nasty enough that I was on edge long after the credits finished rolling.

Sort of worth watching to see Timothy Hutton's performance go straight to 11 and STAY THERE.

Tonight: Maybe Darling (2015) and The Tenant(1976).

Check out the archive of the horror week here.