[Review] Backward Creep (Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest): Cosplayers Run Over a Woman and Find Themselves in Paranormal Trouble

Filmmaker Christopher G. Moore’s latest short film Backward Creep is his strongest outing yet, building on an admirable filmography that includes Gut Punched and Knob Goblins. Moore’s latest takes a more serious tone than those two fine darkly comic efforts, weaving a tale of terror that is making an award-winning run on the film festival circuit.

Lisa (Vanessa Gisselle Thompson), Josie (Dany Lofgrin), and Dio (Brian Lee) hit a costumed woman (Crystal Cleveland as Ushiro Girl) with their car on their shortcut route to a cosplay convention. After some strong words between driver Lisa and shotgun rider Dio, Lisa goes outside to investigate, and accidentally running over the woman soon leads to deadly, supernatural consequences for the trio.

Moore wrote, directed, and edited, and his knowledge and love of horror from both a fan’s and artist’s perspective is evident. He combines elements of American “I know what you did” fright fare and Japanese ghost horror with a nod to the deep colors of Italian giallo lighting. The nighttime, country-road setting further adds to the chilling ambience that Moore conjures up. 

Cinematographer Ismail Abdelkhalek, who has worked with Moore several times in the past, turns in some wonderful work that perfectly captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of the proceedings. Special effects supervisor Matt Patterson turns in some ghastly, striking gore and creature effects. (Patterson was also the special effects supervisor on the short Uncle Otto’s Truck, which won the Crimson Screen Crimmy Award this year for Best Produced Screenplay – Short, and he appears as a clown in the feature Kill Giggles, which won the fest’s Crimmy Award for Best Feature Film.) All four cast members turn in solid performances.

With his short Backward Creep, Moore lays the groundwork for a feature film — and who knows, perhaps a franchise —  as he introduces an eerie villain with a chilling agenda. 

Backward Creep was selected for the 2020 edition of Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest, which is based in North Charleston, South Carolina. It won the fest’s Crimmy Award for Best Special Effects — Short Film. Moore was also nominated as Best Director — Short Film. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/backwardcreep/.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.