“I am what is commonly known as a serial killer. I don’t love that nomenclature. I sort of consider myself a murderer, but my numbers are such that I’m classified as a serial killer… I’ve killed 39 people.”
So says Aaron (Mark Duplass) within minutes of meeting Sara (Desiree Akhavan), hired to film a documentary on him at his remote woodland cabin. It is a statement of intent that marks the (necessary) difference between this sequel and Patrick Brice’s original (un)found-footage psychodrama Creep (2014).
Back then, charismatic oddball Aaron spent considerable time toying with his videographer Buddy before finally revealing to him (and to us) his status as deranged pattern killer – but now the cat is already out of the bag, and for those who have not seen the original, a prologue here shows Aaron’s typical MO with another targeted victim (Karan Soni). With Aaron’s element of surprise gone, and with the unflappable Sara seemingly incapable of being frightened by him, Brice forces himself to take this sequel in a new direction – which, paradoxically, guarantees even more surprises for the viewer.
Approaching 40, Aaron is feeling “a little mid-lifey” about the mass-murder game, and is contemplating packing it in. Meanwhile Sara, too, is losing the will to keep making episodes for her barely viewed male-dating vlog Encounters. Each hopes to find new inspiration in the other, and so what ought to be a horror story unfolds as a twisted romance between lonely weirdoes, even as the initially sceptical Sara slowly starts to realise what we have known all along: that this video may well be her last.
Still present and correct is the first film’s highly effective blend of hilarity and unease rooted in Aaron’s mercurial character (with Duplass as riveting as ever in the rôle) – while Sara comes with her own set of idiosyncrasies, including a disarming openness to almost any experience in pursuit of her art. The results may just be the funniest, strangest love story ever told.