There seems to be an acceptance amongst up and coming filmmakers that the path to getting noticed is easier when adopting shock and awe tactics. Most recently James Cullen Bressack has had the most success with this low budget, on-the-edge brand of filmmaking that panders to no-one and garners as many fans as it does detractors. Cullen Bressack’s films may not be to everyone’s tastes, but they do have a sense of troubled style that matches the director’s convictions. But as is the way of things, the good must be balanced by the bad.
A “creeper” is apparently a form of internet troll; a pervert who spends their time prowling dating sites and lonely hearts links to get their sexual kicks. To gain revenge on one in particular, a sad loner who initially appears to have done little wrong, three young women decide to see how far they can push things through a series of humiliating tasks. Obviously events get out of control and the tables are turned.
Creeper will possibly satisfy fans of extreme horror cinema, but for most it will come across as the worst form of indulgent filmmaking. Writer and director Matthew Gunnoe wants to have made a modern exploitation film, a feature that throws a light on the shadowy underbelly of online dating through exposing the seedier corners of the sites. Instead Creeper feels like the result of the most troubled teenage boy’s sexual fantasy. After kidnapping the girls, their former victim and issue-laden psychopath Tobin (Darrly Baldwin) subjects them to various violent, sexually-influenced tests that result in them running around the woods semi-naked covered primarily in blood and gore. Gratuitous and excessive certainly, but there is little style or wit to proceedings. Neither Tobin nor the girls are remotely relatable and you find yourself wishing they’d all just wind up dead; at least then the incessant fake screaming would subside. Films such as Cannibal Holocaust or I Spit on Your Grave generated a certain empathy despite their grisly natures, a sense of morality necessary to give the audience some hope. Creeper ignores that entirely, settling instead for deeply unpleasant characters who end up doing deeply unpleasant things to each other. Simply put, there’s just no reason to care.
There will always be a market for extreme cinema and for low budget exploitation films that will shock and surprise. Creeper is like the grim and grubby little offspring of this subgenre, a film that screams “look at me” at the top of its lungs, desperate for attention and utilising any nasty little tactic it can to be noticed while lacking any genuine sincerity. Ignore, and it might just go away.
CREEPER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: MATTHEW GUNNOE / STARRING: DARRYL BALDWIN, MONICA CHAMBERS, ROHNJA MORROW, TARA PRICE / RELEASE DATE: TBC