This uneven indie horror from 2004 failed to creep onto most people’s must-see lists, but it takes a suspenseful turn on the traditional monster movie.

Creep

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Written and directed by Christopher Smith

Cast

Franka Potente as Kate
Sean Harris as Craig
Vas Blackwood as George
Ken Campbell as Arthur
Jeremy Sheffield as Guy
Paul Rattray as Jimmy
Kathryn Gilfeather as Girl
Grant Ibbs as Man
Deborah Weston as Mya

Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb

Available from Amazon

Premise:

Someone or something stalks and kills people in the London Underground. This fact brings no comfort to a young woman trapped after the tube closes.

High Points:

1. Smith and company have developed an impressive low-budget horror aesthetic. The early scenes capture the gothic potential for the Underground. The sinister Surgical Site, culled from someone’s nightmare, plays disturbingly on medical phobias and childhood fears.

2. For once, the heroine facing danger in impractical stiletto heels uses them to her advantage.

Low Points:

1. The final third of the film drags.

2. I kept thinking, throughout the movie, that failsafes would exist to prevent certain things from happening in the subway. You would be able to get out of a closed station, for example. And, of course, this turns out to be the case. I’m willing to accept stylizations to make a film’s premise work, but they shouldn’t be quite so obvious as they are in Creep.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Young woman in spooky setting runs from a Scary Killer.

Effects: 5/6. So often in the history of horror, clever low-budget effects trump the expensive ones at creating the correct, twisted impression.

Story: 4/6. The story features a suspenseful start and a fairly repulsive conclusion. The pacing drags in places, and plot-logic and character motivation fracture in places.

Acting: 5/6. Potente’s Kate is not especially likeable as a character, but the actress herself turns in a believable performance. Sean Harris brings to mind, at times, Gollum, the Yellow Bastard, and Leatherface—and he works much better while he remains in the shadows.

Production: 5/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6. One very nasty scene occurs at the Surgical Site and, while the film suggests more than it shows, certain elements will not sit well with some viewers (nor, in the second half, will the lunches of those viewers).

Overall: 4/6. Some people will be put off by the lack of a tortuous backstory for the film’s villain; I felt the movie suggested enough to allow us to fill in the blank spaces.

Viewers will see some gruesome sights and some eerily beautiful shots. This movie suffers from an underlying confusion as it creeps uneasily from one horror genre to another. Psychological fear-flick? Gory shocker? Monster movie? Horror-as-social-commentary? The filmmaker’s intentions might not always be clear, but the film makes for passable Halloween viewing.

In total, Creep receives 29/42.

Bureau42 Halloween Countdown 2009

October 3 Double Feature: The Last Houses on the Left (1972, 2009).
October 10: Zombieland (2009).
October 17: Creep (2004).
October 24 Double Feature: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1959).
October 31: Into the Mouth of Madness (1994).