BARE BONES: CREEP 2 (2017)

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CREEP 2 (2017)

Creep had some disturbing and uncomfortable moments, even if it’s last act was a bit of a let-down. Sequel is the opposite with only it’s last few minutes showing some spark after over an hour of dull and borderline silly moments with Duplass’ serial killer. In this sequel the killer, now amusingly calling himself Aaron, invites a young woman (Desiree Akhavan) to his secluded cabin, who is making her own failing web series called Encounters. He reveals to her that he is a killer and that he wants to make a documentary about his homicidal habits. Sara sees a golden opportunity despite her fears and over the next 24 hours, she and “Aaron” start to form a strange bond as the filming progresses.

Sequel is once again directed by Patrick Brice from a script by he and star Duplass, though this time without the effectiveness of their first effort. Most of the banter between Aaron and Sara is dull and she seems to accept and start to like the weird man way too soon and it’s not convincing. Aaron’s primadonna approach to making the documentary is silly not scary and the film only starts to get effective in it’s last few minutes as their time together must come to a close according to Aaron’s constantly changing plans. It’s not enough to save the flick which up till this point was an effort to sit through and sadly lacks the uncomfortable vibe the first one used so well. Duplass and Akhavan do have a bit of chemistry and they do perform the underwhelming material well enough, but it comes across more ludicrous than scary. Concept was done better in Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: #HORROR, ANGUISH and CREEP

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#HORROR (2015)

Awful and annoying flick opens with a quick kill and then settles in for over an hour of a gathering of the most superficial, rich, spoiled mean-spirited, twelve year-olds you’d ever not want to meet. After watching them say horrible things to each other and try on clothes, the killer finally shows up with twenty minutes left to the film. At this point we want them all dead anyway and the killer is exactly who you figured it is. All the fancy emoji animation and cellphone clips just cement the notion that writer/director Tara Subkoff is not nearly as clever here as she thinks she is and her efforts to be hip fall flat. Some nice shot framing and cinematography, but otherwise completely forgettable. Somehow features names like Chloë Sevigny and Timothy Hutton as equally vapid parents.

-MonsterZero NJ

one star rating

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ANGUISH (2015)

Written and directed by Sonny Malhi, this supernatural thriller starts out interesting and a bit spooky. The story finds emotionally troubled teen Jess (Ryan Simpkins) moving into a new home and starting to experience strange visions and sensations. Her mother (Annika Marks) thinks it’s part of her Dissociative Identity Disorder, but soon they realized she is being haunted by a young girl, Lucinda (Amberley Gridley) who recently died in an accident.

Flick starts out effectively, then looses it’s grip somewhat when it becomes an outright possession flick. There are also scenes set in the hereafter where Jess’ consciousness and Lucinda’s spirit confer, that just don’t grab like they should. Lucinda’s mother (Karina Logue) also just happens to have experience, from living in India, about people who can channel the spirits of others and thus conveniently provides the exposition needed. It’s a plot contrivance that really sticks out. At least the film gets credit for focusing on a non-malevolent spirit possession this time and a host almost willing to let her inhabit her. Not a bad flick, but also one that isn’t completely successful either.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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CREEP (2014)

Creep is another flick that has a good idea and starts out effectively, but looses you in it’s last act. The story finds struggling videographer Aaron (Patrick Brice who also directed and co-wrote) accepting a job filming a man, Josef (Mark Duplass who also co-wrote with Brice) with terminal cancer at a remote cabin. The goal is for Josef to say goodbye to the unborn child he won’t live to see. As the session goes on through the day, however, Josef’s behavior gets increasingly bizarre and Aaron goes from uncomfortable to downright scared as things start to spiral out of control.

For the first two acts, this flick worked. Duplass was appropriately creepy and the remote cabin setting gave the flick the proper feeling of isolation. It’s when we leave that setting in the last act and Aaron returns home to continue to be stalked by Josef that the film looses it’s grip. It becomes a routine stalking flick that gets increasingly silly as it goes along until it reaches it’s predictable climax. The found footage format works, as usual, until we realize someone should be putting the camera down and running. Worth a look as it is effective for it’s first two thirds and the performance by Duplass really does make you uncomfortable. Too bad they couldn’t find a more interesting and intense way to end it.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: CREEP (2004)

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CREEP

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CREEP (2004)

Creep is the first feature film from British writer/director Christopher Smith (Severance, Black Death) and is a tale of horrors set in the train tunnels and sewers beneath the streets of London. The film opens with a couple of sewer workers (Vas Blackwood and Ken Campbell) discovering a new hole in one of the walls which leads to an undocumented tunnel. Their foray into this tunnel does not end well and sets the tone for what is to come. We then shift focus to pretty Kate (Franka Potente) who is planning to leave the party she is at and join a friend at another party where George Clooney is said to be going. But while waiting for the last train of the night, Kate fall asleep on the bench and when she awakens she finds herself locked inside the now shut down train station. And Kate is not alone. In the station are not only a homeless drug addict couple (Kelly Scott and Paul Rattray), but an obnoxious jerk security supervisor (Morgan Jones) and the lecherous and quite high Guy (Jeremy Sheffield) who followed her from the party. They all are about to be plunged into the same nightmare as there is someone, or something, lurking beneath the streets of London that has cruel and disturbing plans for all those unfortunate enough to be there after closing. And when Kate finds herself in the underground lair of this terrifying occupant, she realizes, to her horror, that those already dead got off easy.

I’ll be the first to admit that the talented Smith’s first flick has it problems. There are plenty of plot holes and the film does rely on some conveniences to tell it’s story such as Guy actually becoming stuck in the tunnel after closing as well in his search for Kate and the security guard basically being such a jerk that he refuses to do anything to help including calling authorities when it is clear there is something wrong going on. But Smith is a skilled filmmaker and he does still manage to make an entertaining, suspenseful and very disturbing horror film out of his flawed script. He has a visual style which makes good use out of the tunnels and underground rooms and corridors and gives us a villain whose methods and purpose are quite shocking and horrifying yet, not without a touch of sympathy. The film moves quickly once it gets going and is a tight and entertaining 81 minutes.

Smith gets good work from his cast with Potente being a strong heroine who starts out as a bit of a self-centered , superficial person who not only proves to be a fighter, but learns some humility along the way. And Sean Harris gives disturbing life to the deformed and deadly “Craig” who earns both our dread and a little of our sympathy. The film has some very gruesome moments with some very top notch gore and make-up effects and Smith even adds a touch of poetic justice/irony to it’s final frames.

The film overall shows potential for a director that has been living up to it with his more recent films which prove he not only is skilled at delivering films with a dark tone, but is fairly versatile with films ranging from the surreal, like his Triangle with Melissa George to his darkly satiric Severance to his grim medieval set Black Death. A flawed, but still very effective first feature from a director who’s proven he’s worth keeping an eye on.

3 frightened Frankas!

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