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Creep (2004)

'Creep' is a 2004 British horror movie written and directed by Christopher Smith. (Not to be confused with the later 2014 found footage film series of the same name.) I remember this being one of the first movies I ever bought on DVD and for the life of me, I could never understand why this was not being talked about more upon its release. Now, here we are almost 20 years later, and it's time to see if this still holds up to that standards I've created for it in my own head, or if my nostalgic love has tainted my memory of what this movie was.

One thing I've never really noticed before, is how unnatural writer and director Christopher Smith's approach to his direction is. Having a constant unsteady camera is something that could be considered rather amateur in quality, however, the way Smith utilise this filming style, provides a constant sense of unease and edge of your seat level of anticipation. This is a technique that I have seen used quite frequently within the horror sub genre, yet never quite as well executed as it is here. Whether Smith had intentionally used this approach or not remains to be seen, yet it is something that works rather well in this films favour due to the ever lurking presence of something unnatural waiting in the shadows.

The plot itself follows a simple enough premise. When on her way to a late night party across town, our lead character, Kate falls asleep whilst waiting for the last train, only to awaken to a vacant locked station. If like me, you find the idea of isolated nighttime locations to be the perfect backdrop for a horror movie, then 'Creep' does it better than most. There is something truly sinister about being confined to a single location with no escape only to find you are not as alone as you initially thought. Taking place in London Underground, for those of you who know, this is usually a very busy location. To see this so desolate was a really eerie experience, and massively enhances the terror throughout.

The casting unfortunately, is somewhat of a mixed bag. The lead protagonist, Kate played by Franka Potente has moments of great potential and showcases at various times that's she has what it takes to carry a lead role, but as a whole, her performance throughout does feel quite underwhelming. For me, I found the most talented cast member to be Paul Rattray who plays homeless heroin addict Jimmy. His character is so endearing and captivating, and that is all down to the brilliant performance of Rattray. It's a shame his character wasn't utilised more in the story.

The creature/human antagonist we encounter that has been committing the atrocities that happen over the courseof this films runtime, is played by British actor Sean Harris. His performance in this movie is genuinely outstanding. They way Harris holds himself, his movements, mannerisms and body language is so carefully choreographed and given that is this a mute character, you feel so much emotion from Harris' incredible performance. This hauntingly captivating portrayal is only enhanced further by the flawless prosthetics and makeup effects team.

Overall, 'Creep' for me is the perfect movie that I would use to showcase the lesser known capabilities of true British horror. That's not to say it is not without its flaws, but as far as early 2000's horror movies go, it's definitely one of the better efforts out there. This is a movie I only came across by chance growing up and hear very little people mentioning or discussing today. I strongly believe that this movie deserves a much wider recognition within the horror community. If you are yet to see 'Creep' and love dark isolated slashers, with gory practical effects, well executed kill sequences and featuring a very underrated and extremely intimidating antagonist, this movie comes highly recommended by me.



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