Director – Christopher Smith
Cast -Franka Potente, Sean Harris, Vas Blackwood, Ken Campbell, Jeremy Sheffield, Paul Rattray, Kelly Scott, Craig Fackrell
Release Year – 2004
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I have remained a fan of British horror writer/director after viewing his awesome films Severance, and Triangle, but I had never given his first full length film, Creep, a watch…until now. When I first read about this film I read both good and bad remarks, so going into this I really had a true open-mind to what I was about to experience, and I now fully believe that Christopher Smith is a highly legitimate horror director after once again expertly executing some good horror.
Creep stars Franka Potente(The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy) as Kate, a self-reliant woman who one night leaves a modeling party to attend another party in which George Clooney is attending. While waiting for her subway train she dozes off and wakes up after-hours, and with no one in sight. She manages to climb onboard a very late train, and what seems like a sate and easy solution to her dilemma winds up only the beginning of a night of terror. A bloodthirsty beast has been ravaging the underground passageways of the subway station, and Kate has now made herself an easy meal.
Creep gives me one element I LOVE to see in horror films…a dark and atmospheric nowhere-to-run scenario. A horror film taking place in a subway station provides for some great atmosphere given the many dark corners and shadows that adorn many subway stations, and Guillermo Del Toro’s Mimic can attest to that. To make things even more awesome, a sweet nowhere-to-run scenario is thrown into this creepy atmosphere, which only increases the tension, and is THEN intensified even more thanks to a sweet looking creature providing the antagonistic chaos. Right after viewing this film I thought it reminded me a lot of Neil Marshall‘s The Descent, and while this film debuted first The Descent is pretty much Creep on steroids.
Christopher Smith really took advantage of the creepy elements I just mentioned with his fantastic execution. Each of the long dark passageways provided the perfect atmosphere for some good scares, and he employed his awesome creature to give us just exactly that, good scares. I rarely get any good chills these days, but I got a few from this film from some simple yet very well executed scenes. His camerawork is creative and sets up much of the good tension we get, and thanks to this exciting feel and a short 84 minute runtime the film paces marvelously well. The actual action we get from the creature is fulfilling and downright awesome at times. If the look of the thing doesn’t freak you out, his actions and mannerisms will finish the job, guaranteed. We also get a great amount of gore as well, including one scene in the latter half of the film that will leave females cringing and most likely fearful of what lies behind the dark shadows of the numerous subways that adorn the Earth.
Story-wise this flick is mostly positive. The overall plot is one that I enjoyed thanks to the subway and nowhere-to-run elements, plus anything involving a maniacal creature is always sweet. While the overall plot was fun and enjoyable, there were some smaller aspects of the film that I did not enjoy so much. The usage of our lead Kate was one type that I really do not “get”. You know the role of the protagonist right? The person we are supposed to root for in the film? Well, the “protagonist” in this one is a bitch who feels she can buy her way out of anything. Now, some of you would think “well that only makes me root for the antagonist even more!”, but that is usually only the case when we have an antagonist worth rooting for. You know, the kind of killer that serves a purpose(like “Jigsaw” of the Saw franchise) and comes with some personality? The creature in the film is cool, but not the type of character I would ever root for. Basically, we get no great character conflict between the protagonist and antagonist, and amounts to a situation where I could care less if either lived or died. Now, the supporting actors…that is a different story. We get several supporting actors that provide some great conflict for the viewer, both in regards to characters you would like to see survive, and others that you would like to see die. We also sadly get some scenes that are downright ridiculous in logic, and while I always expect silly scenes to happen in movies some of these scenes were quite unreasonable to the point of unforgiveness on my part.
Overall, this is a cool and genuinely creepy debut film from British horror writer/director Christopher Smith. We get some genuine chills, a sweet creature, a cool story, and a somewhat underrated experience as well.