Creepy (2016) is the latest thriller from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, best known for Pulse (2001) and The Cure (1997). Following a horrific incident, Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) leaves his his job as a police detective and begins a new role as a university lecturer in the field of criminal psychology.
It’s not long before his former colleague Nogami (Masahiro Higashide) gets in touch, seeking Takakura’s help on an unsolved criminal case involving the mysterious disappearance of a family six years earlier. Takakura and his wife Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi) move into a new home but soon discover the neighbours teeter on the antisocial side. After meeting the odd but charming Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa), a family man that inhabits the opposite house the couple are individually intrigued by him as it appears Nishino harbours some secrets of his own.
With Creepy, it’s best to go in knowing very little about the plot and avoiding spoilers at all costs. It’s a slow burner filled with ambiguity and compelling dynamics that leaves the audience on edge of their seats until the outcome is eventually revealed. Creepy is a film that incorporates high tension from the outset from the gut punch of an opening until the final credits roll. It’s nail-bitingly good with an ominous tone throughout; tension is built up well delivering a sense of uncertainty of where it’s heading but it effortlessly draws the audience in wanting to know more
It’s a very naturalistic film in the sense that the events play out like every day occurrences; it takes it’s time to get where it needs to be without resorting to shock value or revealing everything too quickly. The characters are fleshed out and come across as realistic. Teruyuki Kagawa steals the show as the strange and mysterious neighbour Nishino.
There’s a certain menace about him that challenges the audiences perception, questioning as to whether he can be trusted or not. Are Takakura and Yasuko just paranoid or is something far more sinister occurring with him? It makes for compelling drama and intrigue. Yuko Takeuchi delivers a stand out performance as Takakura’s long suffering wife, she plays the role with a sense of awkwardness and loneliness, spending her days in the neighbourhood attempting to create friendships with the locals to no desired effect. The husband and wife relationship is interestingly played out, there’s a breakdown in communication between them which proves detrimental later on in the film. They are on their own separate quests which plays out as two narratives and proves an interesting watch. It’s also worth noting that the couples dog Max is adorable and is a character in his own right!
Creepy has excellent direction from Kurosawa, it’s atmospheric, beautifully shot, well acted and all in all a really solid edge of the seat thriller and powerful psychological drama. It’s guaranteed to leave the audience reeling.