Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Franka Potente, Vas Blackwood, Ken Campbell, Jeremy Sheffield, Paul Rattray, and Sean Harris
Directed by Christopher Smith
Released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment
‘Cause I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I’ll tell you what — Watching one of the best damned genre films to come along in years, that’s what! Creep is all about delivering the chills and making the viewer watch from mostly covered eyes. Looking to take the fast train to terror? Well then swipe your Metro card or drop in your token as it is time to head underground for a night filled with gore, abnormalities, and uber-violent mayhem.
Franka Potente of Run Lola Run fame is still running. This time to save herself. Her character of Kate is a party girl that doesn’t really fit in with her crowd. We’ve all kind of been there so it’s fairly easy to relate. Rather than pretend to be having a good time at a party, she decides to call it a night and go home. Subways can be dangerous. Especially at night. As a former New Yorker, I myself have seen everything from puppy-sized rats to people being stabbed in the face as a result of one of many impromptu subway fist fights. It’s always an adventure, that’s for sure. Still, nothing compares to the horrors that meet up with poor Kate. While riding on the train, she is accosted and nearly raped. Being the tough cookie that she is, she manages to get away thanks in part to a nicely placed kick, which then leads to the opportunity to hop off of the subway and into the labyrinth of tunnels deep below London. Not the best of ideas, but hey when you’re in danger, survival instincts have a tendency to take over with — at times — mixed results.
Things go from bad to worse in a hurry as Kate finds herself with some more unwanted company in the form of the film’s title character, the Creep. Having lived in these tunnels for most of his life, the Creep is a truly bizarre character. This is all that he knows. While eviscerating someone that you have tied to a table may sound extreme to you or me, for him it’s what he does on a Sunday afternoon. He doesn’t realize what he is doing is wrong, and that makes him all the more dangerous. For him we are prey. For him we are food.
The Creep is a true sight to behold. Think a much more twisted version of Lord of the Rings’ Gollum, and you’re starting yourself on the right track. The full-body makeup is truly unnerving, but it would be just latex were it not for the performer inside. Sean Harris does a startling job of bringing this character to life. According to the DVD on some days it would take upwards of eight hours to don his full blown Creep regalia. Harris would use that time to get mentally into the character. He would spend his hours on the set away from the rest of the cast. He wouldn’t speak with them, and if forced to, he would be fairly unpleasant. This type of method acting worked well with his co-stars as they stated they were not only freaked out by him, but some were genuinely scared. You can see this onscreen. You can almost feel the terror. His body language and guttural cries alone are enough to make your hair stand on end. It’s a truly brilliant and horrifying performance.
A main character in and of itself is the London subway. Not since 1972’s classic Raw Meat (a.k.a. Death Line) have subway tunnels been put to such good use. The feeling of claustrophobia created by director Smith, coupled with the ambient and eerie sound design of Nick and Peter Baldock, serves to create a heavy breathing kind of feeling to the shoot. Shadows dance on the walls, tunnels turn into darkness, and evil could be hiding in any corner. Much to my delight, some of those very same walls are painted with a lot of the old red stuff. The violence flows freely in Creep as victims are brutally maimed and tortured by the albino-like purveyor of evil. The DVD extras even include a very violent extended surgery sequence, just to put an exclamation point of sorts on all things squishy.
Speaking of extras, Lions Gate does a fine job of laying them on thick. Included are three feaurettes documenting the making of the film and covering everything from inception to makeup along with footage of an audience Q&A from the Fright Fest 2004 event, an alternate beginning and ending, and of course a very energetic and insightful commentary by director Christopher Smith.
Creep does exactly what it sets out to do, and that is to deliver to us, its viewers, the scares that we long for while piling up a body count and laying on the gore. Maybe next time you’re on the train things won’t seem so bad to you. At least you’ve got the doors to keep you sealed off from the darkness that waits just outside. Now if only we could get rid of that urine smell and the people that shun the usage of deodorant. One can dream, no?
The Making of Creep featurette
The Look of Creep featurette
Making the Creep Featurette
Fright Fest 2004 Q&A
Creep bonus operation scene
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