Looking Back: Creep (2004)

Director: Christopher Smith Starring: Franka Potente, Vas Blackwood & Jeremy Sheffield Synopsis: “Trapped in a London subway station, a woman who’s being pursued by a potential attacker heads into the unknown labyrinth of tunnels beneath the city’s streets.” Runtime: 85 minutes

“Hello? Did you kill the driver?”

Trapped on the London Underground after a few too many pints is a terrifying enough ordeal, but add into that a pair of homeless druggies, a “rapey” work colleague and homicidal maniac on the loose, and Franka Potente’s Kate is in for a very rough night indeed.

While Creep has a fantastic premise, the overall effect is of a nice idea that’s poorly executed. Although Franka Potente’s Kate is admirable in the role as pursued victim, and director Christopher Smith has clearly seen enough horror films to fill HMV, there is a feeling that this was something of a missed opportunity.

We first meet Kate at a swanky party in London, where she is telling all her friends she is going to try her luck with George Clooney, who is at another nearby party, apparently. She stumbles through London on her way to the tube and manages to consume enough vodka to conveniently fall asleep at the platform. Safe to say, this was a bad idea and Kate is soon neck-deep in shit, literally, and what starts off as a minor inconvenience soon turns into a fight for survival.

The last tube home can be murder.
The last tube home can be murder.

Franka Potente leads a small cast, and despite a slightly dodgy accent, she does well as the girl on the run. Potente’s Kate runs, screams and panics but, thankfully, has enough fortitude and smarts to do a little more than just be a damsel in distress. Vas Blackwood has a rough time as sewer worker George, and his character is fairly one-dimensional. I wouldn’t say that is the actors fault by the way, it’s more to do with the lack of any real meaning his role is given. Jeremy Sheffield also suffers, perhaps more so from a lack of screen time, but his character is never given the time to develop, and the audience is left uncaring about his situation as he essentially remembered as the bloke who tries to rape Kate early on in the film.

The effects and makeup in Creep are well done, and the villainous creature of the piece is a well made mixture of makeup and prosthetics, which combine to make an effective if not altogether memorable screen monster. However, the quick attempt to give the big bad a back story is unnecessary and takes away from its overall effect. Some audiences may want their villain to have a reason for what they’re doing, but personally, I don’t know what’s wrong with someone just being evil for evil’s sake.

Was it something I said?
Was it something I said?

There’s no doubt that director Smith has seen many, many horror films and his affection for the genre is clear, and while he comes up with some memorable death scenes and plenty of gore, his first film feels lacking in substance & character and most of importantly of all, any genuine tension.

In summary: A nice idea, with some good death scenes and a creepy score that plays throughout, but these aren’t enough to save this film from falling into obscurity and remaining as a wasted opportunity to make something really great.


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