Creep (2004)

Evil dwells underground.
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Creep - Evil Dwells Underground

A cross between a slasher flick and a folklore horror, Creep is a British horror movie from writer and director Christopher Smith, taking place in the network of stations, tunnels and sewers that make up the London underground where Kate (German actress Franka Potente) is trapped after falling asleep on the platform on her way out for further carousing after a booze and drug fuelled party with her pretentious friends. The movie excels at creating a claustrophobic and forlorn atmosphere as the strong-willed yet desperate Kate tries to escape the 400 miles of track whilst the misfits that inhabit the depths of London at night are being slaughtered by an unknown killer. The main cast is minimal and the very Kate-centric movie is fodder-padded with only a couple of bums, station workers and her short-lived chauvinistic man-friend plus, of course, the deranged mutant-gynaecologist that has spent his life underground practising surgery on those who accidentally enter his lair.

The movie opens with two sewer workers exchanging poo-related banter in the underground restroom area of London's community. Discovering a previously unexplored tunnel, Arthur (Ken Campbell) and George (Vas Blackwood), become the first victims/captives of the underground dweller.

Next we see Kate, not really fitting-in, at a douche-bag only party. Deciding to split and see if George Clooney is out and about, Kate fails to get a taxi and decides to take the underground instead. Exposing her London lightweightness she falls asleep on the platform and wakes up to find that she is locked in. Managing to catch he last train she is surprised when it inexplicably stops but luckily her friend, Guy (Jeremy Sheffield), from the party has boarded the same train but unluckily is out-of-his face and determined to rape Kate. Another stroke of luck for Kate is when an unseen hero drags Guy from the train and rips him to shreds.

Discovering that the train won't be continuing its journey (probably due to leaves on the line), Kate enlists the help of two homeless junkies and their Jack Russell to lead her to the security guard's office. The security guard is unhelpful and soon dead and by the time Kate gets on another train it doesn't take her long to become alone again as the stalker takes out her companions. Kate is captured by the deformed and obviously mental stalker, known to his friends as Craig, and stored in his makeshift refrigerator where she meets the similarly stored George the sewer worker. Disappointed that this is not the George she was hoping to meet tonight, Kate realizes that her only chance of returning to her depressing social life is to escape and make sure that Craig doesn't bother her again.

The plot of Creep is almost a modernized twist on the common hollow earth storyline popularized in horrors such as Marebito and an abundance of sci-fi books and movies, but where strange inhabitants populate the disused tunnels under large cities. Creep provides a credible expansion to the theme as the history of London's "Mole Man" is revealed along with the circumstances that put him there. The movie manages to deliver a balance of both atmospheric scares and violent scares, the scary looking, twisted and evil being is humanized as his disturbed upbringing is uncovered and a sense of understanding is revealed, although a sense of sympathy is not enthused. One of the main assets to this movie's scariness is aims to be quite believable (yet fantastical) and doesn't rely on the supernatural to explain what is going on. Although the story exhibits some typical slasher characteristics such as the troubled antagonist and the sexy final girl there is a lack of need for comedy and a definite British uniqueness to the plot execution making this stand out from the cookie-cut American slashers that inundate the horror market. Franka Potente puts on a solid performance as the distraught Kate and a dry cynicism emerges in the final scene that will make the viewer think twice before they jump to conclusions about bedraggled persons sat on train platforms.
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