A young woman, Kate, falls asleep while waiting for the last night train on a London Underground platform. When she wakes, she finds she has been locked inside the station, trapped within its labyrinth of corridors and tunnels. But she is not alone. Someone, or something, is pursuing her.
Technically Creep is very well executed. The direction is tight, and it's well paced. The photography, lighting and production design all work well together, creating a sinister, disturbing atmosphere. There is a continual sense of dread and claustrophobia. And this film certainly knows how to create tension, and how to pull off an effective jump scare when needed.
The characters are interesting, but not necessarily likable. Kate - the central character - is actually quite unsympathetic, particularly at the beginning. However the acting performances overall are convincing and fairly decent. Sean Harris is particularly interesting as the murderous Creep of the title, and even manages to elicit sympathy in one scene.
For me, the setting is the real star of the show, transforming the everyday and familiar into a subterranean hell. While the London Underground is far from an original location for a horror film (see An American Werewolf In London, and Death Line, as just two examples) Creep makes full use of the different subterranean 'worlds'. Action moves between the bright, fluorescent-lit white tiles and stainless steel of the station corridors; the dark, griminess of the train tunnels; the wet, blackness of the sewers; and the sickly-yellow decay of long-forgotten rooms. At one point we even see Kate pursue a small dog through a tiny door into a new environment, as if she were Alice in Wonderland.
The film has the skill to make us believe we've seen something far more gruesome than we actually have. While there is some visible gore, a lot of it is suggested - just out of view, and paired with an impressive use of foley. This is by no means a criticism - it's very well handled.
Despite being director Christopher Smith's first feature-length film, and the production's low budget, Creep is actually a fast moving and effective horror thriller. It plays with our curiosity of what lies beyond the bright lights and garish posters of the Underground, and gives us something to think about next time our train stops in a dark, narrow tunnel for no apparent reason. The movie does have some flaws. At the half way point, the film switches from being a stalk/slash movie, to more of a monster movie, and some things feel slightly improbable if you stop and think about them too much. There are some unanswered questions, but I liked that clues are handed to us to form our own conclusions about certain details. But on the whole, as a fun, tense, and scary horror movie, it works very well indeed. I really enjoyed it. 4.5/5