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Austin Film Festival 2017: “Creeper” Review

“Creeper” is a 2017 Australian short film playing as part of the Shorts That Go Bump in the Night showcase at Austin Film Festival. That lineup includes six short horror or thriller films and can be seen at Galaxy Highland from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Tuesday, October 31, providing festival attendees some Halloween thrills.

This short is 12 minutes long, and the tension just keeps building throughout its run time. Writer and director Drew Macdonald uses lighting and sound to his advantage, adding to the disturbing nature of the acts performed by the titular creeper (Harry Piaggio). It begins with a young woman (Melanie Zanetti) getting a ride home at night in a rideshare. We don’t see the driver of the car until a full two minutes into the short, making this otherwise ordinary scene tense and mysterious.

The driver follows the young woman into her home after she gets into the shower and can’t hear his movements. When she realizes a light is on that she didn’t use, she is visibly worried and tries to figure out if someone is in her home, but the man who is there hides. While the woman is sleeping, the creeper’s actions escalate. He continues getting bolder and is clearly unperturbed by the idea of leaving behind DNA evidence. The film just keeps ratcheting up the suspense to the point when most audiences will want to scream for the woman in the film to wake up and see what’s happening.

Zanetti is a good actor, as a young woman living alone, worried about her safety but being nearly powerless to ensure it. Piaggio really stands out, as the disturbed antagonist who does abnormal things with such a casual manner. At times he seems almost robotic, but it’s clear there is something not entirely right with him. The atmosphere in “Creeper” is perfect, and it will give most viewers the thrills they seek in its efficient 12-minute run time.

Visit the Austin Film Festival website here for ticket information. 

Stay tuned for more reviews and interviews from the 2017 Austin Film Festival!

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