Rating 2¾

Written and directed by Christopher Smith

Franka Potente, Vas Blackwood, Jeremy Sheffield and Ken Campbell

‘Creep’ seems to have very obvious similarities to a 1972 horror film called ‘Death Line’ (starring Donald Pleasance), although the writer/director Christopher Smith claims never to have seen that film.

It stars the German actress Franka Potente (‘Run Lola Run’ and ‘The Bourne Identity’) as a rather dislikeable society “party girl” who finds herself locked inside a deserted Charing Cross underground station after falling asleep on the platform while waiting for the last train. This set-up (and what happens immediately after she wakes up) is so utterly implausible that I initially found it quite hard to get past it and concentrate on the rest of the film.

Various characters find themselves trapped in the labyrinth of underground tunnels and are menaced by something unseen in the dark shadows. There is a suggestion that some kind of wartime genetic experimentation was carried out in a secret subterranean laboratory, but this is never explored in any detail and becomes somewhat irrelevant to the rather simplistic and gratuitously gory “get chased, get caught, get killed” storyline.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that the deep level London underground lines have a number of stations that closed during the early years of the development of the system. There is a labyrinth of tunnels down there that are no longer in use and are barely known about. At one point in the film, Franka Potente finds herself on a derelict platform at “Down Street” station. This was a genuine station on the Piccadilly line close to Hyde Park Corner and Dover Street (later renamed Green Park) stations. It was opened in 1907 and closed in 1932. I might be exhibiting all the behavioural patterns of a train-spotter, but I think better and more interesting use could have been made of this location. I suspect many people watching the film would be entirely oblivious to what it is.

The huge expanse of underground tunnels beneath London is a great setting for a horror film. I’m not convinced that ‘Creep’ makes the most of this setting or its interesting premise. However, Franka Potente is as terrific as ever and there is also a small role for Ken Campbell, which is a welcome bonus.

Christopher Smith also wrote and directed the comedy-horror ‘Severance’.


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