MOVIE REVIEW: CREEPYPASTA Is Hopefully the First of Many


Creepypasta is horror for the internet age. It started out as user-generated urban legends, more freely dipped in horror, that were shared online in forums and message boards in a style that catered to plausibility. They lived in the grey areas between ambiguity and anonymity, the two things that best describe digital interactions across the board (which is scary in itself). Classic monsters were replaced with hooded figures with abnormally long limbs or faces with frozen smiles on them, carrying names like Candlejack or Ickbarr Bigelsteine. Haunted houses were cast aside for liminal spaces and interdimensional spots that could feature stairs going to places unseen or strange TV shows with names like Candle Cove.

The ScreamBox exclusive Creepypasta movie manages to capture a lot of this with an anthology format that goes for 5-6-minute-long stories, à la The ABCs of Death, that feel like a greatest hits rundown of what Creepypastas are all about. Among the filmmakers that contribute to the film are Daniel Garcia, Buz Wallick, Berkley Brady, Paul Stamper, Carlos Omar De Leon, Tony Morales, Mikel Cravatta, and Carlos Cobos Aroca.

Like all good horror anthologies, the film features a wraparound story which, in this case, follows a man in a strange house who’s looking for a flash drive that’s housing a sensitive video in it. The place is a mess, with dead bodies strewn about and an analogue TV with an 8-bit video game stuck on its start menu screen to round out the atmosphere (here we get a clever Easter egg in the form of Ben Drowned, a popular Creepypasta by Alexander D. Hall, aka Jadusable). The man moves towards a computer screen that sits on a cryptic chat page that directs him to watch sinister video after sinister video as he searches for the right one. We never know who’s writing on the other end.

The short stories range from shadow people to long-legged boogeymen (like Jumby) that kidnap kids. They serve as introductions to urban legends, brief glimpses into horrors that have the potential to become movies independently. The setup is simple enough. One or two characters come into contact with something that defies explanation, and is also off-center weird, only to be immediately haunted or traumatized by it.

Reality itself gets altered to accommodate the beings in these stories, but never to the point of completely breaking away from it. One thing Creepypastas excel at is in projecting a kind of strangeness that flirts with the possibility of being real. I’d argue that’s what makes them so compelling. They aim to scare in a very intimate way while never fully letting go of the little truths that make the mind wonder.

Not every story hits the mark, though. Those that play around with scary imagery and keep to the margins so that the viewer’s mind fills in the blanks are more successful than those that indulge in special effects and overdramatic performances. There’s a story about blue-eyed people that communicate with another dimension, for instance, that could’ve done with some restraint.

On the other hand, There’s a Black Eyed Kids story that’s quite a highlight. It follow a lonely and sick old woman as she’s visited by one of these kids. The segment keeps to a grey toned and heavily shadowed aesthetic that accentuates the horror whenever we’re shown something terrible, if only for a moment, and it sustains the effect throughout the brief runtime. The closing story, about El Cuco (a variation of El Coco), is another high point, and it might be the best the bunch. It builds up the legend of a dark creature with clever use of suggestion and dread. It carries a sense of dark fantasy that makes it come off almost fairytale-like, but not to the point of shedding its Creepypasta identity. Its closing sequence makes sure the anthology ends on a high note.

Creepypasta has the necessary elements to become a very different and exciting horror anthology. It has a unique identity that already sets it apart from the rest. The micro-short story approach plays to the strengths of the Creepypasta concept and opens doors to future entries. Aiming for a stronger selection of stories and a continuation of high-quality wraparound stories will surely lead to the creation of a loyal fanbase that’ll constantly be itching for more. I wouldn’t be surprised if that fanbase isn’t growing now as we speak.