Since the screening I’ve learned that “Creepy” is actually quite well-regarded, at least with some of the international press. I wish I could agree, but the only thing that made the movie bearable, at least to some extent, was how unintentionally hilarious it was, which gave it a certain entertainment value – albeit by accident.
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“Creepy” – or “The Burbs: Braindead Edition”, as I’ve come to call it – probably was the funniest film that I saw at this years /slash filmfestival – and that includes comedies like “Hentai Kamen: The Abnormal Crisis” and “The Mermaid”. Too bad that it wasn’t intended as such. It actually starts off promising enough, with a short clip about this detective, Takakura, and a killer he wants to study, who then gets loose and hurts him before being killed himself. One year later, he’s recovered, but left his old job behind in order to teach criminal psychology at a university, and he and his wife just moved to a new house. A couple of minutes later, there was a first warning sign concerning the discrepancy between what the film attempts, and the unintentionally funny effect it had on me. With complete and utter sincerity, Takakura is standing in the classroom, and tells his students that there’s three types of serial killers: The organized ones, the disorganized ones, and those that fall in between. Ehm… what? But wait, it gets better: In his own line of work, he only ever met the third type, those you can’t clearly classify. Now, I have neither studied criminology, nor psychology, let alone criminal psychology, but to me, that sounds like there only is the third kind which actually defies categorization. Granted, it’s just a small comment – but it’s exemplary for my problems with the movie: It takes itself far too seriously, and is ultimately totally incompetent when telling the story it wants to tell.
In a twist of fate which lets the young James T. Kirk coincidentally stumbling upon the deserted Spock on the uninhabited planet in “Star Trek” look totally logical and inevitable, during a break from teaching Takakura’s gaze falls upon the screen of one of his colleagues, who in his free time studies crimes. He spots one blip far from the other ones, and learns that it’s about the disappearance of a family. Wondering why such an event should be classified as a crime, he starts to investigate – which will ultimately have him find out that the killer is none other than his new neighbour from fucking next door, Nishino. Now, if that alone would have been the only silly thing about it, I might have let it go. But unfortunately, “Creepy” is full of such implausibilities and unintentionally hilarious moments. For example, he later on interrogates a witness. Apart from the fact that the way he goes about it had me ask how someone like him could ever get a degree for anything with “psychology” in the title, she starts to recall her mother talking to a stranger very often, turning away from her daughter when she spotted her, like it would be something secret. Come to think of it, around the same time her father did the same thing. So could it be that they actually talked to the same person? But wait! Around the time, her brother also suddenly started drinking, and she’s fairly certain that the one who bought the alcohol for him is the exact same person her parents were talking to. And the only thing more ridiculous than this line of thought itself is that she actually turns out to be RIGHT.
I could go on and on like that, but let’s just say: After a promising beginning, “Creepy” slowly started to unravel more and more with each and every passing minute, with a couple of scenes of stupid behavior or unintentionally funny lines where I didn’t know any more if I should laugh out loud, or cry out in despair. Like the young cop who accompanies Takakura on his investigation, who decides to check out Nishoni (after Takakura already told him that he was suspicious about him) – without telling anyone, including Takakura, what he was about to do (let alone take any backup with him). Or the moment where Takakura realizes that the setup of his and his neighbor’s house are exactly the same as from the missing family and their neighbor (what?). It went on like that, until finally, Takakura and his former boss head out to confront the supposed serial killer. While Takakura checks on his wife, his boss enters Nishino’s house on his own (backup is for pussies!) – and it was at that exact moment where I turned around to my companions, desperately holding back my laughter and saying “I can’t take this anymore!”. Add to that the scene where the daughter of his newest victim fails to use the loaded weapon in her hand to just shoot their tormentor (one might argue Stockholm syndrome, but later on, she’s happy after Takakura finally killed him, which only had me thinking “you could have had that 15 minutes earlier, saved your mum, and spared me a lot of suffering, bitch!”), or the moment where Takakura’s wife turns on him, the scene where they drive along that uses such a terrible back projection that made it look like they were using one of the flying cars from “Harry Potter”, and finally, the ridiculous scene where Nishino puts the loaded gun into Takakura’s hands, wo turns, says “This is where you fall”, and kills him. The last 15-20 minutes were a particular chore to sit through, and when the credits finally, mercifully started to roll, I simply was thankful to whoever deity you happen to believe in that it was over.
The only thing that kind of redeems “Creepy” in hindsight – and which spares it an even lower rating – is the fun that I had afterwards ripping it apart with my friends, who found it equally hilarious; which kinda made it this year’s “The Pack”. It also means that compared to a couple of other – maybe even better films, taken by themselves – it’ll stay in my mind longer, and I see me and my friends coming back and making fun of it not just for the rest of this year’s festival, but in the years to come. Which, if nothing else, will at least make it infamous and quite unforgettable for me. In itself, though, it’s a terrible movie, made barely bearable only because of the way how – and how hard – they miss their intended target, which makes it kinda entertaining, in a “watching a cinematic train wreck”-kind of way. However, since all of that was unintentional, I have a hard time giving the movie any real credit for that.