What I Watched 3.16.11: CREEP (2004).

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Horror, Movies (C), What I Watched

After Black Death, I’ve been going back to look at the movies of British horror director Christopher Smith.  I still have Severance and Triangle to go, but Creep, his first movie, is a great start. I’m actually surprised that I hadn’t heard of or seen this already, since it’s right up my alley.

Smith claims to be inspired by the legendary tube attack scene in American Werewolf In London, so much that he made an entire horror movie set in the London Underground.  Run Lola Run‘s Franka Potente plays a trendy city dweller who falls asleep in the station and gets locked in overnight. There’s something down there with her.

This movie is simple but effective. True to its title, it’s creepy. It’s also got a great look to it — the bright yellows of the cleaner parts of the station (and the lead character’s blonde hair) are a sunny contrast to the dim greens and dingy darkness of the environment that she proceeds down into.

As in his latest movie, Black Death, Smith has a knack for adding interesting character strokes to his movies where most horror directors don’t usually bother.  It makes a huge difference.  The way that Potente’s character is kind of self-centered, the way that she hesitates to run in to help other characters, the way that she nudges other characters to go forward when she’s afraid, the way that she still has her soft spots and sympathies — these all make an otherwise basic fright ride that much more interesting and recognizable.

It’s not a perfect movie.  Once the main “villain” is introduced, we’re given a little more backstory than we probably need.  (Less explanation is always scarier.) Also, there are a few too many digressions once extra characters are introduced. But as a horror debut, this is so much better than most, with a terrific lead performance and a consistent sense of atmosphere and dread, and having seen this movie it’s no surprise that Christopher Smith was able to develop into a director who could make a movie as unusual and challenging as Black Death.  Which I am way overdue to review.

Anyway, check Creep out and get creeped out. And really, marvel at how much cleaner British subways are.

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