We’re only a few days away now from the release of Patrick Brice’s Creep 2, the sequel to his sleeper found footage hit that features a lovable sociopath played by Mark Duplass who hires a videographer to capture a day in his life, but he has some sinister plans for the unsuspecting filmmaker (who was played by Creep director Brice) that might have some bearing on how this “film” turns out.
Daily Dead recently spoke with Brice about returning for Creep 2, and how the pressure of creating a sequel was an initial challenge that he and co-writer Duplass had to overcome. Brice also discussed the deliberate choice of pitting Duplass’ character against a woman this time around (played by Desiree Akhavan), working against the stigma of “found footage,” and more.
I’m so glad you guys got to come back for a sequel, and congrats on what you manage to achieve with Creep 2. From a directorial perspective, what was different for you this time around, versus your experiences on the first Creep?
Patrick Brice: It was actually a lot different. There was a lot more pressure associated with it, obviously. There was a built-in audience for the movie while we were coming up with the idea, so it was almost like having another voice in the room, and another potential opinion that we were worried about. When we made the first movie, we really had no idea anyone was going to watch the first movie. It was such a small production that the idea of the audience wasn't even a factor while we were making it. And that made it easier on that level, I'd say.
Whereas, with the second movie, knowing that there would be some sort of anticipation for it, it definitely ended up affecting our creative choices. It was also one of those thing where I think it was affecting us to the point that it was stifling, but once we made a conscious decision to forget about it, and simply try to make the best movie we possibly could that made us happy and was the movie that felt like we were adding something new to the story, that's when it became fun and a lot more fluid.
There's a lot to these movies that rides on Mark’s ability to play this very weird and uneven type of character, and he’s always fantastic. How much of that organically comes from him or is that something you guys work through together as you’re putting together the initial story?
Patrick Brice: Well, I think it's a combination of those two things. We were able to be a lot more deliberate about this movie than we were the first one, because when we made the first movie, we didn't even know that we were making a horror movie when we first started to make it. It sort of became that, and that theme emerged both while we were making it and then after we started showing it to people. The kind of feedback we were getting was that the stuff that was the most impactful involved that unnerving tension of the movie. So, we went back and did reshoots where we were trying to capitalize on that.
And, with this movie, I feel very lucky that I had Mark as a collaborator, and that we had this character that we only really scratched the surface of in the first movie. Because now there was this challenge of trying to figure out ways to show new layers of this guy, without completely giving things away, and that was a lot of fun. So, going into the second one knowing that we were going to be making a horror movie was helpful. We actually had a 15-page kind of "scriptment," I would say, for this one, with the major beats worked out, and some dialogue, too.
But within that, we left space to play, which is one of the things that makes these movies unique and special—they have this lightning in a bottle element to them, in terms of certain moments feeling spontaneous and new and fun. Some of those are ones that we thought of months beforehand, and some of those are things that we came up with immediately during that take. It varies throughout the movie.
Can you talk about the dynamic that Desiree brings to the table for this, because I just loved her in this so much, and I loved seeing her and Mark’s characters push each other's buttons. It completely changes things up from the original Creep.
Patrick Brice: We knew we wanted to put Mark's character up against a woman in this movie, and I know there are a lot of potential pitfalls associated with that, especially in the horror genre. So in order to combat that, we just wanted to make sure we were creating a character that had her own specific desires and motivations that made sense, and also were such that putting her energy up against his energy actually made for a nice narrative tension.
I love her in the movie, too. I'm so glad that you connected with her, because that was a big challenge going into a sequel was that the first movie was essentially a cat and mouse endeavor, right? Where you're questioning the entire movie whether or not this guy is an actual serial killer or not and then we answer that question.
We couldn't rely on that with the second one, and so the challenge that we presented to ourselves was, “Okay, what if the cat is out of the bag in the beginning, and we have a character who may or may not believe that he is a serial killer, but has her own need to be there and her own hopefully justified motivation for sticking around, where she’s trying to get what she wants out of him?" Because of that, and because we know that the audience knows that he's a serial killer, there's a nice inclusiveness that happens as an audience member where you're in on something that one of the characters in the film is not in on. Hopefully there's this fear instilled in whoever's watching it, knowing that at any moment, this person could potentially be murdered, or they're just in an extremely dangerous situation.
I know you and Mark have talked about doing another Creep and making this a trilogy, but it seems like there are a ton of stories that you can mine from this character's experiences and his world. Have you guys thought about where everything goes from here, or how do you guys come back and find a new way to rip back the layers again on this character?
Patrick Brice: We have. I mean, we had four different iterations of Creep 2 before we decided upon the one that we eventually went out and made. You have to go through this process of throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks, and finding that thing that makes the most sense. We haven't landed on that yet, specifically. But given the reaction to the second movie so far, I think we have an idea of some places we could go with potential sequels and beyond. There are so many stories we could tell here.
It's really exciting, and it's funny to me, too, because I feel like the found footage genre has become the red-headed stepchild of horror, and the fact that we're still making these movies in that genre is, in and of itself, a strange endeavor right now. But, I also take that as freedom to explore stories and characters and situations that you don't normally see in horror movies right now.
Yeah, I know a lot of folks bag on found footage, but for me, it just seems like a more challenging way to tell visual stories, because it would be super easy to just shoot this as a traditional narrative, and set your cameras up and take the normal route. But the way that you guys have to do it, in terms of the technical aspects, has to be rough.
Patrick Brice: Oh, completely, you nailed it. Any creative decision you're making has to be justified by "why is the camera on at this moment?" And it's something I feel strongly about, and it’s something Jason Blum has talked about a lot, too. He has always said, “Don't make a found footage movie unless it needs to be a found footage movie.” And so, not only are we creating these ideas that it’s required that they be found footage movies, but also, for the most part, it informs the character, too. That's something that we're constantly thinking about, and hopefully that's something that separates us from the films that don’t quite do it as successfully.
In case you missed it, check here to read our previous coverage of Creep 2.