This might be a surprise for you, but the internet is host to a lot of weird people. Be it Facebook, Skype, Reddit, whatever. Now I’m not going to point fingers, since when you look at said people, obviously there’s a line between a harmless interest and something that should involve the cops breaking down your door. Anyway, the internet has been one of those topics that horror movies have utilized to varying degrees, particularly in the indie film market. With his film Creeper, writer/director Matthew Gunnoe has taken the potential creepiness that an online chat website holds, and turned it into a rather unsettling affair.
For those not familiar with the term, a “Creeper” is someone who lurks on social media or dating websites looking to get off on unsuspecting people. Heather and her friends have gotten tired of this happening to them, and so they decide to turn the tables. Finding a man named Jerry Tobin on the dating website ConnectMeNet, they goad him into humiliating himself on camera, performing various acts of depravity in return for the girls’ potential nudity. Unfortunately for Jerry, it’s all a setup as the girls manage to find and beat him up, then post the clips of his acts online for the world to see in a video titled “Revenge on a Creeper”. Unfortunately for the girls, however, is that Jerry wasn’t quite all there to begin with, and this abuse and humiliation causes him to snap and disappear. Re-emerging one year later, Jerry’s off of his meds and looking for payback.
The film is essentially divided up into two parts, with the first part being the girls bullying Jerry. In an ironic twist, you end up feeling for Jerry as the guy is seemingly put through the ringers in hopes that he would gain friends in the girls. It helps that the girls are snotty and not at all sympathetic characters, despite their intentions to get revenge on the supposed sleaze that have been hounding them. I say supposed, since we don’t actually see instances of this. From a story standpoint, it makes sense: make the girls totally unlikeable, while Jerry gets the sympathy card. As expected, things change in the second half with Jerry dealing out the revenge with us rooting him on. Mostly.
Darryl Baldwin, who plays Jerry, doesn’t talk in the film, and is therefore supposed to use facial expressions and body language to communicate his emotions. He does the best that he can, but it’s quite obvious that it’s not his strong suit. He does an adequate job of being the “gentle giant” type, but when he goes nuts, he’s a formidable dude. He’s rough with the girls, putting them through their own humiliations (one involving a bucket used for an outhouse, and another reminiscent of Se7en). As mentioned previously, the girls are bratty and not at all likeable, which works but leads into a bigger problem with the film.
Given that the film is your low budget affair, you can expect some weak acting. Unfortunately, there’s weak and then there’s bad. Creeper‘s acting is bad. The girls are one-note. Almost every emotion comes across as fake. One minute a girl will be crying after being captured, the next she’ll be back to being bitchy without any transition. No tears, no sniffles, nothing. Another instance has a couple of the girls getting the upper hand on Jerry, but rather than going at him furiously, it’s a couple of lame kicks and more annoying talk. I know that the idea is that they’re supposed to be unlikeable, but there’s a line between unlikeable and just being annoying. Unfortunately, the girls are annoying, and have you itching to reach into your screen to choke them yourself. It doesn’t end there. The film sees fit to throw in your stereotypical stoner character who promptly meets his demise, but not after making stoner talk and offering Jerry weed, as well as one of the worst SWAT teams ever put to film. The SWAT team shows up, and promptly gets taken out by Jerry and some questionable Adobe After Effects footage. Really, who brings mortar rounds to take out a psychopath, or goes full sniper camouflage, only to be blown up a few seconds later? I know it’s a forest, but there’s no land elevation and you’re standing next to trees with grass cover on you.
So yeah, you can guess what kind of film Creeper is: another lame indie film that throws on a scratch filter to make it seem like a Grindhouse film, but is point-and-shoot with actors who can’t act and budget effects. It’s an agonizing 96 minutes to sit through, and doesn’t have the switch of sympathy between the girls and Jerry (which you’d hope that it would). The only redeeming part would be the eventual nudity by the girls, but even that’s ruined by the acting.
Here’s an extended preview, with some clips available here.