CREEP

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Having been delayed from its planned winter 2004 release, CREEP?r?rept into UK cinemas a few months back and more or, less crept back out again, unloved by the critics and ignored by the public. It? a shame because it? good to see the UK film industry keeping up the horror tradition and whilst CREEP is no DOG SOLDIERS or 28 DAYS LATER, it? an intriguing and sometimes unpleasant shocker that? worth 85 minutes of any gorehound? time.

Sassy party girl Kate (Potente, last seen sinking beneath the waves in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY) decides to take the last tube home. Bad mistake. First of all she? pursued by an over-amorous admirer from the party (Jeremy Sheffield, currently starring in the dire WEDDING DATE) who gets a knee in the groin for his trouble before being dragged out of the train by?ell, something pretty unpleasant. Then Kate finds herself trapped in the closed underground with only a couple of hippy squatters for company and with something horrible and slavering creeping through the tunnels with mutilation on its mind.

Subtle CREEP ain?. We?e seen stuff like this before, of course, but what makes CREEP stand out from the crowd is its setting. Filmed in and around the real London Underground the film has an added realism by being set in a disturbingly-recognisable location, a place even non-Londoners are familiar with either from personal experience or from films and TV. This brings the horror of the film much closer to home and while some of the impact is lost when the film gets a bit more extreme, it creates a nervy tension which helps the film live longer in the memory than your average stalker/slasher flick.

So who or what is the ?reep? Don? ask me because, frustratingly, the film doesn? actually tell us. There are some tantalising hints, snapshots of some sort of family background to the grisly, slobbering creature which dwells in the tunnels but we never find out what his/its story really is, what caused it to become a blood-letting subterranean monstrosity. The creature itself is a macabre creation, superbly played by Sean Harris (outstanding as the doomed Ian Curtis in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE), a relentless, merciless killing machine. Perhaps the most unsettling sequence in the film is the scene where the creep prepares to ritualistically mutilate one his whimpering, bloodied, helpless female victims. Nasty.

Other performances are mixed at best. Potente doesn? have a lot to do except wander around barefoot looking terrified (and who can blame her?) and Lenny Henry? old TV sparring partner Vas Blackwood turns up as an Underground worker trapped in the creep? lair. Chris Smith directs with some flair for the derivative material and while CREEP is no classic of the genre, it should turn out to be a useful training ground for a promising new British film-making talent.

CREEP is pacey and exciting, perhaps excessively grotesque in places and while it never quite hits the spot it? a diverting 85 minutes for those of a bloodthirsty disposition.

THE DISC: A bountiful collection of extras make it quite clear this film was a labour of love for director Smith. The commentary is enthusiastic and informative, the thirty-odd minute ?aking of?is worth a look, there? an edited ?andA?from a Frightfest film festival, alternate beginning and ending, TV spots, trailers, make-up and production design featurettes. The disc quality is excellent with a disturbing 5.1 mix.

CREEP is released on DVD in the UK on 6th June 2005.
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