For Reel


Creep (2014)
September 18, 2015, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Patrick Brice
2.5 Stars
CreepIn front of the camera, Mark Duplass has constructed an image of a “roll with the punches” kind of chum, whose penchant for sharing his vulnerabilities makes him both likable and almost eerily enlightened–the sort of guy who’s so responsive and affectionate that one wonders if there’s a tinge of condescension behind it or worse. Creep utilizes that persona to great effect by having Duplass play a mentally unhinged, potential psychopath without adjusting his image too severely. In fact, early on the line between male bonding film and horror film is blurred–while audiences undoubtedly have some awareness that things could get bad, the friendly, improvisational feel and Duplass’ charms make one doubt just how bad it can get. The found footage aesthetic is more of a hindrance than a necessary means of telling this story, but director Patrick Brice takes some pleasure in acknowledging the genre he’s working with by having Duplass play a man who very much knows he’s the villain of a horror movie. Early on, he indulges an obsession of popping out behind corners, joyously invoking the “jump scares” of films of this genre. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of those distinct quirks to make this villain particularly memorable, and Duplass is more frightening in the suspicious early-goings than when the film begins to lay its cards all out on the table.



The Overnight (2015)
September 18, 2015, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Patrick Brice
3.5 Stars
The OvernightThe opening scene of The Overnight is a familiar one. A long married couple has awkward, pathetic sex as they try not to disturb their waking child. Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are squares who are new to California, their romantic life floundering and Alex growing increasingly frustrated by his lack of a social life. Enter Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Judith Godrèche), a hipster couple whose loose, carefree lifestyle initially serves as an inspiration before the specific quirks of their relationship start to seem vaguely disconcerting. There’s a nice play regarding the manners of the well-to-do couple–when they are excited to learn that Charlotte is an actress and request to see their work, they have to bite their tongue when Kurt proudly puts on a DVD of his wife involved in a lactation fetish video. Sometimes, writer/director Patrick Brice’s dealings with this sort of “depravity” seems condescending, although as the film goes on it is clear that he has great affection for Kurt and Charlotte as much as he is willing to make a joke of them. As with Lynn Shelton’s Humpday (Mark Duplass is a producer here), it is problematic to bring up the topic of sexuality without having the gull to go all the way with it–the film’s climactic moment is unexpected and touching, but Brice turns it into a gag before having to deal with the fallout. Regardless, The Overnight fares well by putting its central couple in awkward situations where they are forced to consider their own relationship in comparison to their peers’, which is one they are envious and sometimes horrified of.