Halloween season may be over, but that doesn’t mean one can’t continue to explore the depths of the horror genre. This past month witnessed the Netflix premiere of one of 2017’s most unique scary movies – Creep 2, sequel to the underrated 2014 gem starring Mark Duplass as a seriously weird protagonist. Duplass and Patrick Brice, the first film’s co-star, have teamed up again to expand upon their disturbing creation. The Script Lab spoke with Brice at the Sitges Film Festival, where he premiered the latest chapter in this deeply unsettling saga.
The first Creep worked so well because of the element of uncertainty and surprise. Knowing that it couldn’t be repeated, how did you approach the writing process for this film, particularly in its complicated and unpredictable structure?
We knew we couldn’t repeat the formula of the first film. So going deeper in thinking about Mark’s character made the most sense. The new struggle with this approach is how does one maintain a sense of mystery while (supposedly) revealing all there is to know about the character. So we allowed the character of Aaron/Josef to narrate more even though he’s a completely unreliable narrator.
What was the inspiration for the Encounters concept; and how did it influence the nature of Sara’s character? Did Desiree Akhavan have a hand in the development?
I was thinking about this artist Laurel Nakadate who did a similar project where she went home with men who approached her on the street and made videos with them. Her stuff is a lot more intense and complicated than what Desiree’s character is up to in the film. But I felt it could be a nice in-road to getting her to go through with this experience. Desiree was very collaborative in terms of where her character ended up.
These films are so striking because they feel very real. How important is realism to you when crafting the scripts?
Realism is a top priority. It’s also a realm that everyone involved with this project naturally operates [within]. We wouldn’t be able to achieve this without everyone being on the same page taste-wise.
One of the strongest elements of this sequel is its decision to increase character complexity, rather than just increasing violence and suspense. Was it a conscious choice to give Josef/Aaron more depth in this film?
Absolutely. We were also stuck within the confines of the found footage genre. The need to constantly justify the camera being on, etc. This can either be a completely annoying constraint or an opportunity. It was our job in concocting the story to turn it into an opportunity.
You mentioned in the Q&A that you didn’t approach the first film as horror. Both films aren’t traditionally terrifying, but rather uncomfortable until they become disturbing – how did you approach the structure of scares and buildup of dread to achieve such a unique effect? Are there any films that served as inspiration?
We knew the majority of the film was going to live in awkward situations. To some people what they experience everyday is scarier than the scenario of a horror movie. We knew that this situation could be one that was potentially relatable. Films that served as inspiration include What About Bob? and My Life. Both are only inspirations in coming up with the story and not the scenario. The tone was something that was discovered during production.
Were there any specific true-crime models that inspired Aaron’s personality and attitude toward his “job?”
No. Mark and I are scaredy cats when it comes to that stuff.
What scares you most about Aaron’s character?
He is a psychopath. There are more of them walking amongst us than we know.
Creep 2 is now available to stream