For the release of the sequel to the sleeper hit, CREEP, starring Mark Duplass, Craig had the great pleasure of interviewing Patrick Brice, the writer and director of CREEP 2. During their interview, they discussed everything from juggling the camera to making a sequel, as well as hinting at a potential third film in the series.
Nightmarish Conjurings: For the sake of the filming, who was holding the camera in this movie?
Patrick Brice: Primarily Desiree, but there are a lot of moments where we would pass it off between the two of us. We kind of developed a little ballet move to hand it off. For certain moments it was more helpful for her performance for me to be holding the camera and so there were a couple key parts where we passed it off to each other. There are also moments in the movie where you get 360° view of things and so with those it was Desiree, for sure.
NC: How did you block out these camera switches?
PB: To the outside world it looked like chaos and it probably looked like we were just dicking around and had no idea what we were doing. We were shooting this movie on a Prosumer camera from 2006, which most feature films are not being shot on in this day and age. Given that, I’m sure it the entire process kinda looked ridiculous. Just as with the first movie, it was a process where we kind of learned what made sense and what didn’t make sense during the filming to determine who should be holding this old camera at any point. By the end of it we had a perfect system in place, but of course at that point we were pretty much done filming the movie.
NC: How many shooting days did you have?
PB: I think six for this movie. It was kinda crazy.
NC: For the sake of comparison, how many days you have on the original CREEP?
PB: Well, the initial production was five days and that was just me and Mark in the woods together; just the two of us with the camera. Once that one became a Blumhouse movie and once we knew we were making a horror movie we made adjustments or re-shoots based on that fact. At that point, Chris Donlon our editor and other producer on the film would come up with us for the shoots. Therefore, on the first movie it was three people at most while with this one it was five people.
NC: Why did you choose to shoot this on the Prosumer 2006?
PB: It was the nearest camera we could grab at the time. It was actually Jay Duplass’ camera that he had bought for himself to shoot a documentary on. I liked it because I’m not a big tech guy and neither is Mark, so it had a lot less bells and whistles on it for us. It was a camera we could really just point-and-shoot. The space was pretty flat so we didn’t really have to worry about lighting at all during production. We just wanted it to be something that was purely a pure functioning tool to make a movie like this. Also, in terms of found footage, I actually like the look that it comes up with. I think it looks a lot grainier or shittier than most found footage movies, but I think that lends itself to the realism of the movie. I don’t think you should shoot a found footage on a really nice camera because it makes it that much harder to suspend disbelief.
NC: From a story standpoint what inspired your take on the sequel?
PB: It came from dealing with that same thing that every filmmaker has to deal with when making a movie in the genre: creating a justification for why the camera’s on. I mean, why is this person not leaving this uncomfortable situation? It started for us with the characters, actually, we had to think about this character and who we could insert into this world that we’ve already created that would not only makes sense, but also be compelling. Hopefully she provides an inroad for the audience that would make them feel included. What I hope works with this movie is that the cat’s already out of the bag, we know he is a serial killer, and we’ve seen the results of that in the first movie. That was the whole tension of the first movie and we knew we could not just replicate that going into this movie. The challenge we posited for ourselves was having him tell someone that he is a serial killer from the very beginning and working from that point. The person he tells may or may not believe him and, to her it doesn’t really matter because she has her own personal motivation and need to be there. When that’s happening, the audience now knows that it is true and that he is telling the truth when he says this, so they’re now experiencing the tension that my character was normally feeling in the first movie. The idea was to just pass the fear off to the audience.
NC: Since this is envisioned as the trilogy how do you keep moving the story forward so that the third chapter does not feel like the second?
PB: We’re going to have to go back to the well a little bit and that question is the most challenging thing for us now. This movie we were kind of hitting our heads against the wall trying to come up with something that made sense. Having the wherewithal to know when something’s not working and when you’re pushing it too far is a challenge. We have a healthy awareness of there being an audience for this movie, but there’s also an unhealthy version of that where you’re maybe trying to push things into what you think the audience wants. The goal was to make sure we took it to a place that we were still capable of achieving as a filmmaker and tried to make sure we took the story to where it should go. We didn’t want to make a sequel that felt like a simple retread of the first one, we wanted to add another layer.
NC: What is your favorite story idea that didn’t make it into this?
PB: There’s an idea where Mark’s character has shown up as a cult leader somewhere that was a lot of fun and we played around with that for a while. We were going to play on a lot of new age themes that I thought were really funny, but it was also one of things where we have kind of seen that version of this before. We knew we could do better, but it’s still something that’s in the back of my mind.
NC: So that’s going to be the plot of the third movie then? (laughs)
PB: Yeah (laughs)
NC: What was the casting process like for Desiree?
PB: We knew we wanted someone who was a filmmaker and writer in their own right. That’s actually a really small pool; especially for someone who is a multi-hyphenate like she is. I mean, her first movie she wrote, directed, and starred in. In terms of this iteration of this movie, she was our first choice and we went to her and basically told her we loved her first movie. It turns out she had seen CREEP and loved it herself and she was game. It’s a tall order to ask for someone to make a movie like this because we only had like a 15 page scriptment, so there’s a lot of unknowns going in and there is a lot of improvisation. It had to be someone who was comfortable with the jumping off the cliff aspect of making a movie like this and actors for the most part, and I don’t blame them, like to feel comfortable and know exactly what they’re doing. With something like this you’re asking them to be super vulnerable and so whatever padding you can create is best because of the many unknowns associated with making a movie this way. Therefore we knew we needed someone who could be emotionally strong and willing to just go out in the woods and get weird with us.
CREEP 2 is now available to watch on all digital platforms.