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Interview With CREEP Director Patrick Brice on Bare Bones Subversive Filmmaking in the Horror Genre

4 years, 7 months ago
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CREEP is a new found footage horror film directed by Patrick Brice and starring Mark Duplass. As avid fans of the found footage sub-genre–and close friends to Patrick and the film’s editor, Chris Donlon–we are now thrilled to feature an interview with him about one of the more subversive and interesting horror films in recent years.

What was it like making a feature movie in such a bare bones fashion?

It was intense. The film will sink or swim based on your ability to stay engaged with the material on multiple levels. You are forced into the position of being extremely self critical, questioning the end result of each creative decision. Story-wise that means you are constantly asking yourself “What’s next?” with each step. Because we were discovering the story of the film as it was happening, each small decision inevitably had a domino effect on the remaining narrative. And because we are using the found-footage device in the film, the question of justifying the camera being on at any given time is a consideration that cannot go unnoticed. I had to learn all of this during the process of making the film.


Do think a new generation of horror movies should have a responsibility to create a subversive experience for the viewer? As in providing more to the audience than cheap thrills?

I’m not sure if it’s a “responsibility” of new horror films and their makers to go above and beyond. I guess I’d say that it would behoove them to try and make something that’s new and fresh with each film. I came to horror films later in life, mainly because of accessibility. The fact that early on I was not allowed to watch them only heightened their mystique. My first exposure to them was watching a marathon of the FRIDAY THE 13th films on cable when I was 12. I went from knowing nothing of the genre besides being scared of the box covers at the video store to watching 5 Jason films in one sitting. There are some bare bones elements to that series (the “ch ch ha ha” music, the cheap sets) that can still seep into my subconscious. With changing modes of distribution and less and less people going to see movies in the theater it certainly seems like filmmakers (genre or otherwise) are going to need to explore many different ways of telling stories in order to stay relevant.

What besides the found-footage aspects of CREEP do you think drew Blumhouse to this project?

With the popularity of the Paranomal Activity franchise, I’m sure Jason Blum ends up being pitched every new found-footage film under the sun. I think by the time CREEP came along to them they were likely feeling burnt out by all the cheap imitations of work that they could do better themselves. With our film we were not really setting out to make a Horror/Thriller at first, we only knew we wanted to
make something that was a combination of funny and unsettling. The film we ended up with allowed us to differentiate ourselves in a genre that we didn’t even have an initial awareness of. Lucky for us, when we brought the project to Blumhouse they were able to see the potential and served as guides bringing us through the home stretch.

What is the scariest possible thing you can imagine happening to you?

Being held captive. I thought the film PRISONERS this year did a great job of giving a sense of what this would be like in real life. I can’t imagine anything more horrifying than being held against your will, with no way out, at the hands of a crazy person. At the same time, I would put going to jail for the rest of my life up there in this category.


These days, with surveillance, government intrusion, and social media–privacy has opened way to a whole new breed of creepiness. Do you think people feel a fundamental sense of relief to have a definite Creep–as in a monster defined by the media– to pin their anxieties on?

I feel like we are still in the Beta stage when it comes to gauging emotional and psychological effect of social media on society. So I’m not really sure if that is what folks are specifically connecting to with the film.


In your opinion, what’s the scariest scene ever filmed?

There is a scene at the film of Wayne Kramer’s (underrated) RUNNING SCARED involving pedophiles that rattles me to the core. Any violence or danger is only implied and it’s still scary as shit.

Were there any other films that came to mind as influences when you were making CREEP?

There is a shot in CREEP (I can’t say which, you’ll have to find out on your own) that was equally inspired by the final scene in THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and the final scene in Michael Haneke’s CACHE. When making a film in this manner there’s really not a lot of time to come up with visual references or callbacks to other movies. So rather than trying to control the environment we allowed ourselves to be affected by it in the story. The addition of chance to the process is really exciting to me and will hopefully help to differentiate it in the genre.


CREEP is now available on iTunes and, having seeing it and placed it on our pantheon of all time best found footage films, we can’t recommend the film enough.

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