Released in 2014, the Mark Duplass-starring found footage movie Creep almost instantly gained a cult following. Three years later, Duplass is back to star in a sequel – and somehow, it’s even better than the first. Yes, my friends, miracles do happen, and here’s your proof.

In the first film, Aaron (Duplass) is a deranged serial killer who hires a man on Craigslist to do create a documentary about Aaron. But being that this is a horror film, Aaron is obviously up to no good; he spends the film tormenting, weirding out, and eventually killing his hired filmmaker. A sequel could have gone the same route, but that would have been boring – a rehash. Too many horror movies are guilty of doing exactly that, but Creep 2 knows that in order to warrant its existence, it has got to do things differently.

This time around, we find ourselves following Sara (played by Desiree Akhavan), an aspiring documentarian. She has a series called “Encounters” on YouTube where she tries to connect with the weird and the lonely, and it is failing miserably. But when she finds an advertisement for Aaron, her luck begins to change – for better or for worse. This time around, Aaron’s much more forthcoming. He explains that he is a serial killer and making movies himself no longer has the thrill that it used to. Instead, he wants Sara to film him as he explains his life as a killer while also offering her protection for a period of 24 hours.

It was fun unraveling the quirks (if you’d want to call them something as innocent as quirks) of Duplass’ character, but it’s even more fun now that we know outright that he’s a maniac. There’s no big mystery about the character, so Duplass is able to have fun with Aaron and inject a healthy amount of humor into the character. Yes, it’s bizarre, and yes, it’s weird, but it’s not all that disturbing; tense, in some parts, but nothing that’s really unnerving like the original. However, this is a strength, and certainly not a weakness.

Creep 2 is not without blood, however, but I wouldn’t spoil it for the viewer. You can be sure that despite the amped up laughs, this is still very much a horror movie; it’s just a different kind than what many of us are used to. It’s a movie that wants to play with us. Aaron jumps out at Sara when they first meet in an attempt to squeeze out a quick jumpscare, but she, like the audience, is unfazed. The movie is aware of just about every horror trope and realizes that in order to do something memorable, it has to abandon the more common tricks employed by the average horror movie. I think this speaks volumes for the horror genre as a whole, and director Patrick Brice has made a film in agreement with this way of thinking.

Fans of the original will absolutely enjoy the sequel. Many will also find it to be far superior. Creep was an excellent first date, but by Creep 2, I know that there’s something very special here.

The Orchard