Creep (the 2004 horror flick from the UK, not the 2014 film) will probably take the crown as the most disgusting film of this year’s Horrorshow. And it’s not because there’s an impressive amount of blood and gore. There is some blood and gore to be had, but it’s not all that much for a film like this. Most of what could comprise gore shots happens just off frame. What makes Creep so disgusting, what had me gagging once or twice, are its setting and filming locations. Creep takes place almost entirely in the London Underground and in the city’s sewers, and there was a lot of location work. Nasty.
From writer/director Christopher Smith, Creep stars Franka Potente as Kate, a magazine editor or designer or something. It’s one of those professions that every young professional seems to have in a London or New York movie. Whatever she does to pay the rent, Kate is convinced, and I am not kidding, that she’s going to have sex with George Clooney that night. She is so convinced, that she gets on a late subway train to head to a nightclub where she intends to bag said Clooney.
This scene where viewers first meet Kate, and where we learn of her ambitions, didn’t give me a lot of hope for this film. The repartee between Kate and others in this scene is forced and inane, and the performers speaking it had to have known. In fact, Smith had problems with natural dialogue throughout the film, and with some other bits I will get to.
The late-night tube trip doesn’t work out so well for Kate. She falls asleep on a platform bench and wakes up all alone on the platform, with the station all locked up. She thinks she’s lucky when another train arrives, but she’s the only one on it, and it stops in the middle of a tunnel. No one answers her banging on the driver’s door. But, it gets worse, as a stalky coworker, Guy (Jeremy Sheffield) comes out of nowhere and tells Kate he followed her onto the train. That makes little sense, but let’s not dwell. It’s just another bit of suspect writing from Smith. Guy, in another fit of strained writing, doesn’t know Kate is saving herself for George Clooney, so he tries to rape her. But, Kate gets lucky again, as a murderous cannibal crawls out of the sewer and murders Guy.
Yeah, Guy is not the creep of the title. He’s a creep, and a rapist, but he’s not the creep. The creep is a malformed, pale, and be-sored genetic experiment that is on the loose under the streets of London. Raised in the tunnels, the creep, played quite ably by Sean Harris, has developed a taste for human flesh, and he hunts stray sewer workers and tube riders. Then, the creep likes to marinate his catches in a tank of raw sewage until they die. That’s where Kate, and another character, sewer worker George (Vas Blackwood) end up. This was not a fun scene to watch. It was a set, surely, but after watching Franka Potente crawl on her hands and knees all over a real, city-filthy tube station in earlier scenes, I was primed to feel a little ill.
None of this is helped by the creep. He is one disgusting film slasher. By the point in this film when Kate and George try and make their escape from the creep, all that weak writing from before doesn’t matter. It’s no longer up to Smith to write believable dialogue, but to keep his characters in constant danger, and he does that very well. No matter where Kate and George go in the darkened tunnels, the creep finds them. The creep is more unsettling than he is frightening, but Smith showed some skill in crafting terror during the creep’s sudden appearances.
When this flick abandons plot and character development, it turns into a filthy romp of a horror flick. After Smith rights this ship, my remaining criticism is that it could have withstood a bit more blood and gore. The ratio in this flick was swung a little too far towards hygienic disgustingness and away from sanguinary disgustingness.
Still, Creep was a hopeless film in the first act, then finished strong. It’s not a film worth setting aside time for, or seeking out specifically, but if it shows up in a list of recommended flicks on streaming, a horror fan could do worse.