The Asian horror scene has been getting the majority of the attention in North America. One cannot overlook the consistently strong group coming from the UK that include Dog Soldiers, 28 Days Later, The Bunker, Deathwatch and of course, Shaun Of The Dead. Creep is their latest contribution to the genre. First time feature film director, Christopher Smith has cooked up an uneven but consistently entertaining effort. It is instantly apparent that we are in the hands of guy who knows and loves horror.
The plot simply consists of a woman (Franka Potente) trapped in a London subway station while being stalked by a mysterious antagonist. Smith takes this basic but frightening premise and decides to run with it. This is the type of horror film that works extremely well with a packed crowd. The filmmaker masterfully builds some very effective suspense sequences. Despite the predictability of some of the scares, they surprisingly work. Director Christopher Smith knows when and where to stretch a scare in order to make it deliver an impact. There is one deceptive edit during a chase that absolutely knocked me off of my seat. He brilliantly misleads the audience’s point of view to deliver the most original scare in recent memory. Smith also wisely knows when to differentiate the proper time to deliver a gruesome and suggested moment of brutality. The underground locations were utilized perfectly. It had both a scope and chilling atmosphere.
The cast is solid from top to bottom especially Franka Potente as our protagonist. It was refreshing to see that her character actually contains an arc of some sort. In the beginning, the character comes across as unpleasant. Potente counterbalances this trait with her usual charm and presence which makes the character always worth following despite her flaws. On the other hand, the villain is a mixed affair. If you judge Creep on the level of a horror film that’s primary objective is to scare the crap out of the viewer than the antagonist gets far too much screen time. As the film progress’, the character gets less and less threatening. Oddly enough, this rather eccentric character is consistently amusing to watch. The villain is unpredictable, twisted and also funny…in an intentional level I mean. There is one unforgettable sequence that has to be seen to be believed. It will make black comedy fans laugh their asses off while disturb everyone else in the crowd.
While Creep doesn’t always manage to juggle between being a horror or a black comedy, it never loses either tone like Cabin Fever did in its third act. Sure if one wants to nitpick, there are some very contrived plot devices in Creep. What makes the film not fall apart is that the pace is quick and unrelenting. Christopher Smith is a director to keep an eye on. Hopefully a studio will wisely pick this film up for distribution in North America. Like Shaun Of The Dead before it, Creep is a big crowd pleaser. It’s one fun, scare-filled ride from start to finish.