Running time: 86
out of Five
Effective horror movie, with equal doses of suspense and gore – it falls apart towards the end but it’s worth seeing, thanks to the combination of the setting, a witty script and Potente’s unusual heroine.
Creep is the debut feature by British writer/director Christopher Smith and if its premise of Something Nasty On The Underground seems at all familiar, that’s probably because you’re lucky enough to have seen Dead Line (aka Raw Meat), a 1972 cult horror movie starring Donald Pleasance as a reactionary cop on the trail of, well, Something Nasty On The Underground. Dead Line is a definite (and unacknowledged) influence on Smith’s film and Creep has its moments, despite falling apart towards the end.
Unseen Menace Pursues Drunken German
German actress Franka Potente (from Run, Lola, Run) stars as Kate, a party girl who is, frankly, a bit of a bitch. Opting to take the last tube home she falls asleep at Charing Cross station and wakes up to find that she’s missed the last tube and that the station is both locked up and deserted. Or so she thinks: when a would-be rapist meets his end in a particularly gory fashion, she realises that an unseen menace is intent on picking off anyone it can find.
It would be a bit of a dull horror movie without any other victims, so after a blackly amusing exchange with an office-bound tube Jobsworth, Kate seeks refuge with a young homeless couple (Paul Rattray and Kelly Scott) before eventually teaming up with imprisoned sewage worker Vas Blackwood and attempting to discover exactly what the ‘Creep’ is. Before it kills them.
The performances are good, particularly Potente, who avoids scream queen clichés by making her character surprisingly unlikeable – Kate is rude and arrogant in her early scenes and the fact that she’s German is, of course, a coincidence.
Plot Falls To Pieces…But Top Class Gore
The first half of Creep is suspenseful and extremely effective, largely thanks to the familiarity of its location and set-up, since drunkenly falling asleep and missing the last tube home is, of course, a fear that anyone can relate to.
It also works because of Smith’s inventive direction and his smart script – initially, for example, Kate’s reactions and behaviour are realistic and believable, as opposed to the stupid decisions we expect heroines in horror movies to make. (These come later, when the film starts to run out of ideas).
Inevitably, then, the film falls apart once the Creep is actually revealed and Smith jettisons suspense in favour of gore and general creepiness. The problem is that the Creep itself is actually rather silly and the film lacks the inventive touch of Death Line, which had the plaintive cry of “Mind the Doors!” as the only words the creature knew.
That said, Creep definitely has its moments and it remains an enjoyable late-night horror flick, despite its flaws. At any rate you’ll definitely think twice before getting the last tube home. Mind the doors.