Preying on 21st-century fears of stalking and lurking through the internet, Creep Nation is a portrayal of the extremes of those fears — and a scathing review of Airbnbs. Centered around a young woman who escapes a creepy relationship only to be is pushed into one with a much more deadly vibe, Creep Nation takes a look at a cyclical exposure to trauma, and how easily victims can reach out only to find no one there to help. Most compelling of all is the film’s look at how bad actions can escalate to something far worse than you ever imagined — something completely out of your control.
Liv Collins stars as Sophia, who has suddenly taken a break from school in Italy to escape a toxic relationship that she was having with her professor. She surprises her brother, Aaron (Adam Seybold), by showing up at his place, but he refuses to let her stay while she’s visiting. Instead, Sophia quickly rents an Airbnb, and has a one night stand with the landlord, Glen (Mark Gibson). There’s a lot to be said about Creep Nation’s performances, which lend greatly to the sinister feeling that something will probably go awry before the movie ends. Gibson plays Glen with a careful amount of toxic masculinity, creepiness, and a genuine feeling that he might just be unaware of the way his actions can be perceived.
Both Gibson and Seybold come off fairly naturally, but the unfortunate fact of the movie is that Collins is forced into a role that doesn’t really explain a lot of her actions. Instead, the trauma that her character escaped — combined with her youth — is used as a shorthand for why she does anything ill-advised. And almost everything she does would be considered ill-advised. Whereas Aaron at least generally acts as if he has a good head on his shoulders, Sophia’s actions feel like they only exist for plot development, not character development.
Though the film does begin with a cold shoulder from Aaron that has a flimsy justification, it recovers once it starts diving deeper into its main point. The movie believably takes on a lot of concerns about the perverse ways we use technology. From lurking Facebook profiles to sharing GPS locations, Creep Nation is a cautionary tale taken to an extreme that most would hope not to experience. It’s still an unlikely scenario, but one that becomes increasingly more possible as advancements are made in technology.