There’s a theory in film criticism that sequels to comedies so often don’t engage because a comedy routine is like a magic trick – once you’ve seen it work, it’s never as good a second time. The surprise element is simply gone.
The first Creep was, for all intents and purposes, about 50% comedy to begin with. Many of the horror elements rose from the tension of not knowing whether the titular creep was just a lonely, awkward weirdo or something actually dangerous. So going into the sequel knowing the answer to that, you’d wonder if it could possibly deliver.
The answer to that is, for me anyways, yes and no. On one hand, you kind of know this guy’s routine already – adopt a phony name and some poor soul’s home, solicit a videographer from Craigslist to document his life, act like a total weirdo and a liar, become WAY stalker-y, and then ultimately murder the sap. The cold open to Creep 2 presents only the culmination of another one of these cycles, before revealing one of the two major twists that necessarily prevent this from becoming a rote rehash of the first: our creep is becoming dissatisfied with this whole song and dance, and is thinking about ending it all.
The new videographer and our found footage POV character (Sara) is an aspiring YouTube star desperate for scintillating content. We quickly find out that she will go to nearly any lengths to nudge “Aaron” towards doing something dramatic. Given that one of the first things he tells this woman is the truth – he’s actually a prolific serial killer – it’s fascinating to see how their repartee evolves. Obviously, she doesn’t believe that this guy’s actually a killer (honestly, would you?), but she’s smart enough to know there’s definitely something off about him. But that isn’t enough to stop her from pushing his buttons, dreaming of those sweet, sweet views.
Still, this dynamic turns Creep 2 into even more of an overt comedy than Creep 1. It neutralizes the suspense a little to see that Sara is super capable and not all that afraid of “Aaron”, even though she ought to be. But the comedy here works. And things remain unpredictable enough to keep you engaged. Mark Duplass is, as always, a freaking master at being a realistic Weird Guy. I have met people EXACTLY like this dude: nice and normal enough at first, but just too emotionally stunted to maintain the facade of normalcy for long – disguising their awkwardness as “brutal honesty” and peppering conversation with childish lies. That some of them might take that extra step toward stalking and even murder is all too plausible.