johnlink ranks CREEP (2004)

My wife and kids went to Texas for the week which means I will probably watch movies at a silly rate. My plan was to watch EDGE OF TOMORROW in theaters. My food took too long, so instead, I’m home on Fear Net watching something called CREEP. Sounds promising.

creep-pic

I watched CREEP (2004) on 7.9.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

Two British workers are in the tunnels with their flashlights and helmets. We get a bunch of character building dialogue which provides laughs, but in a way which we assume means they are both about to die. We get some legitimate scares before a not-quite-satisfying payoff. But the tone is set, this could be a good movie.

We are introduced to Kate (Franka Potente), some nice visuals of the London Underground, and some terrible dialogue about meeting George Clooney at a party. She falls asleep and misses the last train. Her cell phone doesn’t work. Nobody answers her calls. The music pulses like it is, itself, a train. A train appears, she gets on. It stops. Only, we aren’t at a station yet. The film introduces a rapist, then it introduces something so terrible that the racist is redeemed by trying to warn Kate.

Written and Directed by Christopher Smith (who would, five years later, make an intriguing film called TRIANGLE), this is a debut film which nicely presents terror. The filmic instincts are very strong, we get a plethora of pretty or gritty looking shots (sometimes simultaneously). A mix of hand held , static, and tracking shots engage us. Light and dark are in balance, which is often not the case in an underground set film. The dialogue and the ability to illicit strong performances are something which seemed to elude Smith somewhat at this early stage of his career. A Night Watchman is a particularly maddening and convenient character.

There are some cliches. A girl in a pretty dress runs a bunch. A bloody hand gets smeared on a monitor for no reason. When Kate should run, she returns. Rats abound to foretell doom. Characters we like see escapes others couldn’t. Creepy toys make noise. The villain does ambiguously odd things to his victims in a manner which isn’t seemingly supported otherwise in his character. The black man goes crazy even when he has everything to lose. The Creep can be anywhere it is convenient for him to scare from.

On the other hand, this film works on a level of intensity which drives forward. The music pulsates us from moment to moment. Kate is likable and we pull for her. The homeless companion Jimmy (Paul Rattray) is a sad man we wish could do better. The first image of the titular character is extremely strong. Early characters return unexpectedly. Canted frames reinforce uncomfortable feelings. A late torture scene and the subsequent payoff is amazingly brutal and uncomfortable.

Look, sometimes movies have high expectations. This is not one of them. Instead, this is a movie found on Fear Net, which often boasts terrible films. What we have here is an earnestly made horror film which gets a lot right. In a world of easy or cheap horror movies, this one is neither.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 6; BONUS:1

The bonus is for the brutally realized villain makeup. Perhaps The Creep won’t be remembered by horror hierarchies, but he is one who works for me.

6+8+5+6+1=26

FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on July 9, 2014.

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