on 21 February 2008
I read through the reviews here before getting this film. All the reviews that blast this as a worthless piece of cinema and the few that like it. Not surprisingly, I was somewhat put off by that, but even so, two factors made me buy it anyway. The first was that the few good reviews here painted enough of a picture to make me think that it might be worth a look. Second was that I just could NOT resist the idea of a story set on the London underground. That weird underworld of London that we only get faint glimpses of in our normal lives riding the unfriendly tube.
Having actually seen it, I am now a bit puzzled why everyone has taken against it so sharply. Or, more accurately, I am puzzled what people expected that wasn't there. I think it is a great film. Sure it has a few flaws (the rather cute rats are a bit of a shame). Sure, it is not quite `factually accurate' in some ways (and yes - all horror movies are factually accurate, aren't they!). But overall it seems to work very well and succeeds admirably in being what it sets out to be - a horror movie at its simplest. Not supposed to be real. Not supposed to make you think too much, but instead out to give you a trip and to make you feel both fear and a sense of the strange and unusual. Unreal, but with its own bizarre logic. And why not? That's what horror is for, isn't it? I bought this at the same time as The Descent, which many people compare it to unfavourably. But of the two I sort of prefer this film. Perhaps that is because The Descent tries to be a deadly serious film, which ultimately leads to it failing to convince with its improbable make up jobs and unlikely underground monsters. I am not saying that Creep is not a `serious' film. It is not a satirical film as such, but it is a film that knows what it is and is fully content to be that, to revel in the fact that it is unreal and improbable and fantastical and to just go with it. Which makes the suspension of disbelief - essential for a horror movie - easier rather than harder, I think. The result is a film that views more as a fantasy than a reality. Something closer to Neverwhere than to Blair Witch (to call up two very disparate examples). It is a voyage to somewhere else. Some strange subterranean world where improbable things are much easier to accept. This subterranean setting is magnificent, I think. And it is not so far from the truth either. London is a strange place with lots hidden below the surface. The `lost rivers' of London for instance, which now flow through forgotten tunnels caught up in the sewage system. Also, the store room that she climbs into quite early on in the movie is real I think. I cant remember where it is precisely (near Camden perhaps?), but I think it was once a wartime bunker or shelter and was also intended to be part of a tube line. It was given over to storage for businesses documents etc. instead though. I cant swear that the actual sewer tunnels and old passageways are really there under london, but these things do exist and the ones in the film are certainly far from improbable. The interconnectedness of this underworld might be stretching reality a bit, but even so the general tone is quite `acceptable' - if not totally realistic - even if you have a little knowledge of what is actually down there.
The movie is full of other nice touches as well. That awful woman who refuses to help with change near the start of the film perfectly captures the arrogant and unhelpful citizens of a city with a very cold heart. All the actors do a great job in fact. Even the Creep himself is not too bad. Perhaps a bit overblown in the makeup considering that he is actually a human being, but even so, the performance itself is good, with his high-pitched call and sometimes almost elegant movement.
And most magnificent of all is Franke Potente's wonderful performance, moving from the odious smart-set girl at the start (who you almost want to see get a kick in the pants from something raw and horrific, just to wake her up a bit) to the broken, fragile and very human thing left at the end. And that last scene of all - I wont reveal it here - but I think it is a little piece of genius. Such a perfect way to round this all off.
Now - if they'd just left the rats out of it . . .
Not to be confused with the 2014 American movie of the same name, this 2004 low-budget horror film set in London gets a lot of dismissive and one-star reviews and I really don't understand why. It's a stylish horror, beautifully shot and brilliantly imagined with a disturbing performance from Sean Harris which is hard to forget.
The basic premise is simple: girl falls asleep on Tube platform late at night, gets locked in and is stalked by a mysterious ghoul who's living secretly in the subterranean warren of tube tunnels, disused storerooms and sewer systems that thread their way beneath London. There are the usual array of jump scares, bloody deaths and so on, but what makes this film a cut above the average horror is the imaginative cinematography (the bright, almost surgically precise lighting of the tube stations interspersed with the darkness of the tunnels and the forgotten wartime-era remnants). There are some terrific performances, too, not only from Harris's terrifying-yet-pathetic Creep but from first time actress Kelly Scott, who plays homeless drug addict Mandy. Next to them, nominal lead Franka Potente is underwhelming, though she's hampered by a largely unsympathetic character to play (plus a lot of screaming).
Parts of the plot are a little far-fetched, but this doesn't detract from the excellent direction, acting and one of the most bittersweet final scenes I've seen in a horror film. The special features on the DVD are also excellent and give some fascinating insights into the concept and how the performances were achieved.
on 2 May 2015
Kate decides to leave a party, to try and meet the actor George Clooney who is in London.
She waits for the last tube, but she falls asleep on the platform, missing the last train and being trapped in the London Underground.
Later, a train going to the depot stops at the platform. She boards the train and she meets her 'friend' Guy from the party, who tries to sexually assault her in the car.
Guy is attacked, and dragged off.
This is the beginning of Kates night in the Underground......
Improbably like this film more than I should, due to the simple fact that saw this opening day in London, and saw many of the stations that were featured in the movie. Smith is a compelling director who makes the most of the Underground. So much, that it almost becomes a character in itself.
Potente is brilliant as Kate, and the minimal cast give that movie an unnerving sense of claustrophobia. After all, the Underground seems pretty small at the platform, but it's a vast body, and anything could be down there as this proves.
It's a shame it's not more well known, as it's one of the better British horrors of the last ten years, The titular character is brilliantly played by Harris, and despite its iffy origins, his being is terrifying.
I really like this movie. I find my self going back to it quite often, and the last shot of Kate, almost breaking the fourth wall realising that no one will believe her night, even though if she had met Clooney they wouldn't have believed her anyway, is a smack in the face of an ending.
Creep is written and directed by Christopher Smith. It stars Franka Potente, Paul Rattray, Kelly Scott, Ken Campbell, Vas Blackwood, Sean Harris and Jeremy Sheffield. Plot finds Potente as London party girl, Kate, who falls asleep while waiting for the last tube train home. Locked in for the night Kate finds there is something sinister lurking down in the dark depths of the London Underground system.
I'm a bit late to the party as regards writing a review for this film, but I'm pleased to see that on internet movie sites the film is actually rated about right. Average. Lifting from many a horror picture along the way, director/writer Smith can't be accused of originality, but for two thirds of the movie he at least has a good sense of mood, pace and creeping unease. Premise is a good one and the locale is ready made for some quality stalk and menace monsterings, with Potente, sporting an odd look for her, doing a nice line in shriek-panic-and frantic running. But then not only does Potente turn into a generic dopey lass, the Creep of the title grabs too much screen time (so not worth the wait) as Smith completely throws away the atmospherics and, erm, creepiness. Choosing instead to pander to gooey conventions in a seemingly desperate need to shock for the blood craving movie watcher.
Still, there's enough here to totally not dismiss it as a failure, while it's always nice to see Vas Blackwood getting work, but Smith should have trusted himself to make an unnerving chiller and not shift the tone so dramatically for the weak final third. 5/10
on 25 May 2005
The concept for this film is fantastic. The London Underground, someone goes to sleep and when they wake up nobody is there, it's a very frightening idea and i can't think of anybody that would not find that a scary situation. Unfortunately this good concept has been turned into quite frankly a cheesy movie that could have been a classic. I went to see it with no expectations as i had seen nothing about it and had no idea what it would be about, that may seem a little stupid but the advert did look good so I went and although it wasn't the best film i've seen it was not the worst.
Think of creep as "Jeepers Creepers" in the london underground with a hybrid instead of a big old weird made up monster. The reason i say this is because it is scary at first and has the potential to be good. It has it's jump out of your seats moments but when the character is revealed the scares are gone too. There is some seriously bad acting in this film too and i tried not to let it ruin the overall experience but with that bad acting, the cheesy hybrid and a bad storyline it became clear that this was not the horror movie I had hoped it would be.
There are very few films that have made me scared or really shocked me and add this to the list of films that dont have any effect on me what so ever apart from watching the credits still waiting for it to get good. If you want to see something that will shock and disturb you than the remake of "The Amityville Horror" is a must see but only see this out of curiousity.
Not an altogether bad movie about a woman who falls asleep on a train, when she wakes up she is on her own, everyone also is gone. She is happy when another train comes along and she gets on it but, she is alone again. The train shudders to a halt in a tunnel then, she realised she isn't alone at all.
on 29 April 2007
In the middle of the night, an abrasive party girl (Franka Potente) dozes off waiting in an underground station. She wakes up to find she's been locked in (does this really happen??) and a ruthless killer is creeping around the underground tunnels. Thus the stage is set for a tense, claustrophobic slice of horror...well, at least until halfway through.
Sadly, as with many modern horror films (think "Jeepers Creepers"), this film loses pretty much all it's dramatic tension once you get a proper look at the bad guy. I won't ruin it for you by saying which other film character he/it resembles but let's just say, making amusing comparisons had us shaking with giggles as opposed to shuddering in horror.
When it comes to characters, there's the usual array of spot-them-a-mile-off "expendables" (2-dimensional personalities introduced just in time to get sliced up in a variety of increasingly gory and disturbing ways). However, Franka Potente is very good, bringing her unappealing character to life, making you root for her and making her more "real" than your average horror movie heroine. She doesn't suddenly turn into a buffy-esque fighter with superhuman powers - she reacts in a way that seemed true to life (albeit in a very unrealistic situation). I'd reccommend this film for her performance alone.
If you're freaked out by blood and gore you should steer well clear of this film - the characters are pretty much swimming in the stuff. However, if you like your horror bloody and aren't that bothered by minor details such as plot then give it a go - there are worse films out there.
on 2 June 2011
i really wasnt expecting this film to be this good. but it was!. the killer in it is quite freaky and it puts you off train staions!. the only bit i dint get was the bit where she falls asleep in the staion. surly she woulda heard a train pull up! even the talking of the people getting on and off!. however it is a very good film and i will recommend you watch it.
on 25 March 2015
I love this film. An unashamed slice of shlock shock horror. The beautiful Famke Potenta is a bonus, she's a nice change from the artificial Hollywood starlet. Great set pieces, fantastic atmospheric use of the London Underground and some proper creepy moments. A great movie for a creepy night in.
on 30 July 2005
Kudos should go to director Christopher Smith for leaving a lot of the narrative loose ends to the viewer's imagination... so, unlike the vast majority of these empty popcorn horror movies, this film actually leaves you with something to think about long after the closing credits have rolled. It'll no doubt infuriate some... with many viewers these days seemingly in need of a guide to explain every single plot point on a scene-by-scene basis (...and yet these same viewers complained when the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake gave Leatherface a back story!!).
I for one really enjoyed this film... the premise is great for a start, seemingly inspired by that scene in An America Werewolf in London where the commuter is terrorised on the underground, as well as the classic British horror film Death Line, in which Donald Pleasence tracks down inbred cannibals living beneath central London, and, that early scene in Jacob's Ladder, where Tim Robbins gets trapped on the abandoned subway station. Being British, the film doesn't attempt to reproduce the sleek and polished professional style of recent American horror films like The Ring, The Grudge and House of Wax... instead, the filmmakers use a lot of natural and/or available light (the tube station fluorescents, torches, firelight and so on) and a roving handheld camera, which gives the film a sense of danger and an element of grit. The film also makes great use of the tube-station as it's central location, drawing on the obvious labyrinthine qualities of the space, with its winding corridors and chained off dead ends. However, we also get the dark and dingy claustrophobia of the sewer systems, underground passageways and abandoned stations, which are a great place for danger to lurk.
The plot, or at least, the impetus for the plot, is threadbare - but then again, I've yet to see a horror film of this ilk that didn't resort to a series of trite clichés in an attempt to set up the impending horror - with our central protagonist - German party girl Kate - on her way out to meet her friend at a nightclub. Unable to get a taxi, she decides to head for the tube, however, when Kate accidentally dozes off while waiting for the last train, she awakes to find an empty platform, an empty tube station, and all the exits locked off 'till morning. I won't give away anymore of the set up, as this would ruin the effect of the film, however, I will point out that the hackneyed narrative ploys found in the first fifteen minutes eventually give way to a gruesome and admittedly rather tense altercation on a broken down train, which, will set the wheels in motion for the rest of the film.
From here, the film becomes a sort of cat and mouse thriller... with a few gruesome and horrific sidelines along the way. The atmosphere is fantastic throughout, with Smith and his cinematographer Danny Cohen (Dead Man's Shoes) using some clever angles and some nice moody lighting, while the filmmakers even manage to elicit a few jumps from the audience without relying on the old technique of loud, surprising noises (although, this technique IS used on a couple of occasions). There's also a nice interplay between the characters, with Kate happening upon a few other frantic lost souls equally intent on escaping this seemingly inescapable lair. On the performance side of things, I think Franka Potente does an extremely good job (though many seem to dislike her character), as she manages to combine the more character driven moments from films like The Bourne Identity and Storytelling with the physicality and the endless running of erm... Run Lola Run. As for the supporting players, I found Vas Blackwood particularly likable as the amiable George (although his continual catchphrase "I've got kids, man!!" does set him up as something of an obvious victim), whilst Jeremy Sheffield seemed more like a plot-device than a proper character... however, much more impressive were Paul Rattray and Kelly Scott as a pair of homeless junkies, who probably offer the most realistic and believable characterisations of the whole film.
Not wanting to give too much away, but special credit should also go to Sean Harris as the enigmatic "Craig", who gives a great deal of depth to a character that could have, quite easily, become a stock cliché, by approaching him from a similar standpoint to that of Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's version of Nosferatu... creating a monster with a shard of integrity, without becoming too empathetic. The scenes in which he goes about his "business" in an abandoned underground medical facility are, for me, the most fascinating (and disturbingly beautiful) scenes in the entire film... the fact that some people found them humorous is a bit of a shame.
Obviously, being a low-budget British "horror" film, Creep isn't without its flaws (tell me of a violent horror film that isn't!!), though, to give it one star is a little over-reactionary. It's certainly a better film than the likes of White Noise, Saw, The Grudge, The Forgotten (...or any other recent horror-related film) and I even enjoyed it more than supposedly celebrated horror films like Night of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street (then again, what do I know...? I like European art films and enjoyed generally derided horror films like The Lighthouse, The Bunker and Long Time Dead).
For me, Creep was a continually interesting film, with a great style and atmosphere, and is certainly a film that left me with a lot to think about on a sub-textual level. Fans of gratuitous gore should easily appreciate much of the film's second act... whilst the DVD extras are pretty interesting too.