Friday, October 31, 2014

#1,537. Creep (2004) - Spotlight on England

Directed By: Christopher Smith

Starring: Franka Potente, Sean Harris, Vas Blackwood

Tag line: "Your day ends here"

Trivia: Posters showing a bloody hand sliding down a train window were banned from the London Underground

While at a party, Kate (Franka Potente), a young German woman working in London, discovers that her friend Gemma, who previously promised to get her into another party that actor George Clooney was attending, has already left without her.

Hoping to catch up to Gemma, Kate rushes to the nearest Underground station, where she falls asleep on the platform while waiting for the next train.

By the time Kate wakes up, the entire station is empty and has been locked down for the night. Fortunately, one last train arrives, but when Kate hops on, she finds her co-worker Guy (Jeremy Sheffield), who put the moves on her earlier at the party, is already on-board. Realizing he has been following her, a frightened Kate tries to leave the train, only to be jumped by Guy, who then attempts to rape her.

Before anything can happen, Guy is pulled off of Kate by an unseen person and dragged away, kicking and screaming. Figuring a maniac is also loose in the station, Kate seeks help from homeless couple Jimmy (Paul Rattray) and Mandy (Kelly Scott), as well as a night watchman (Morgan Jones), only to find she will most likely have to face this unknown threat on her own.

Desperately searching for a way out, Kate crawls into the sewer system, only to be abducted and taken to an underground medical facility, where her captor "Craig" (Sean Harris), a deformed mental patient, resides. Will Kate free herself in time, or is she destined to be Craig's next victim?

Ever since the wildly energetic 1998 German movie Run Lola Run, I've been a fan of Franka Potente, and was thrilled she had landed the lead role in Creep. Sure enough, Potente doesn't disappoint, infusing her character with a strength that borders on arrogance (clearly evident in the opening party scene). Then, after being attacked by both a would-be rapist and a dangerous psychotic in the same night, Potente shows she's just as good playing a terrified victim as she is a self-assured young professional.

Along with its lead’s solid performance, Creep takes full advantage of its setting (there's something unnerving about a quiet, abandoned train station), and features a handful of creepy moments. The opening sequence, where two sewer workers (Ken Campbell and Vas Blackwood) encounter both the killer and one of his eventual victims, gets the film off to a spooky start. Most impressive of all, though, is the monster itself, menacingly portrayed by Sean Harris. As tense as the first half of Creep is, it pales in comparison to what transpires once the action shifts to the underground facility that Craig calls home, where Kate will be subjected to horrors beyond her wildest dreams.

All of these elements come together wonderfully, making Creep a nifty, sometimes gruesome monster movie that is sure to entertain.

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