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Creep (2005)
Writer and director: Christopher Smith

review by Debbie Moon

Party girl Kate (Franke Potente) is supposed to be meeting George Clooney at an upmarket bash, and the only way to get there is the last tube-train of the night. But when she falls asleep on the platform, she wakes up into a nightmare. The station's locked, she's trapped, and an obsessive co-worker attacks her, only to be dragged from her by something even more terrifying. Soon she's on the run through the tunnels and dead spaces of the Underground system, assisted by a homeless couple and a sewer worker. It seems the tales of something monstrous living in the tunnels under London are true...

Let's face it, the London Underground at night is quite scary enough without a killer on the loose, so it's surprising it's taken so long for anyone to rework the 1972 movie Death Line. Writer-director Smith's movie is very much standard slasher material - there's enough screaming, running, and on-screen gore to keep any fan happy - but, by making inventive use of its locations, it's also genuinely chilling. The details are authentic - illegally resold Travelcards, grizzled sewer inspection staff, the special role the Underground plays in the lives of the homeless - and simply seeing London's mass transit system unnaturally silent and empty is enough to trigger a shiver of dread.

The characters are more sketches than fully developed people, but Potente adds a certain integrity to the proceedings, moving from arrogant flirt to victim to determined survivor, and gets solid support from Vas Blackwood, Paul Rattray and Kelly Scott. Sean Harris, weighed down by make-up effects, gets less time in the limelight, but rises to Smith's rather hurried attempt to explain and humanise the monster. The horror is briskly effective, with few real surprises, but it's the details of Underground life - and the superbly understated final scene, as daily life resumes the next morning - that actually stick in the memory.
Creep

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