★ / ★★★★
Kate (Franka Potente) was supposed to go to a party with a friend, but as it turned out, the friend left without Kate. Although she was disappointed that she didn’t have company, Kate decided to go by herself because meeting George Clooney at a party was too epic to give a pass. In order to get there, however, she had to use the London subway. With five more minutes until the last train arrived, Kate fell asleep on the platform. When she woke up, everybody was gone and she found herself locked inside the station. Written and directed by Christopher Smith, “Creep” used every cliché in the horror manual and beat us over the head with it, creating a very frustrating and maddening experience. When Kate woke up from her alcohol-induced nap, we were forced to observe her running around in her stilettos, banging on metallic gates, and screaming for help. It was interminable; for girl who was supposedly used to city life, I got the impression she didn’t know anything. I was at a loss on why she insisted on looking for a security guard after Guy (Jeremy Sheffield), a lascivious acquaintance from work who followed her to the subway, tried to rape her. Why didn’t she just pull the fire alarm so hunky firefighters, eager cops, and charming medics would come running for her assistance? When she eventually found Guy covered in blood because someone or something attacked him, Kate’s expression more or less remained the same. The director should have taken his actor aside and asked her to exaggerate a bit more. If she still couldn’t pull it off, another actor should have been called on set. Allowing the camera to keep recording was a bad decision. Ultimately, one of the main reasons why the rising action did not work was because of the dearth of variation in Potente’s acting. When something appeared from the darkness, naturally, she screamed. She screamed rather well, but it wasn’t enough. Considering that the camera focused on her face for the majority of the time, when she saw something from afar or when she had to look down from a certain height, because her performance was so one-note, I didn’t feel like I was stuck in the subway with her nor did I feel like she was genuinely terrorized. Another reason for the picture’s lack of tension was the poor screenplay. The villain (Sean Harris) was not at all interesting. Although it hinted at the terrorizer’s past using pictures and babies in jars, it left us nothing but vague glimpses. There was no way for us to put the pieces together in a way that made sense because there was a plethora of missing information. The audience could put them together several different ways but they wouldn’t explain why he felt the needed to kidnap people on the subway and sewers and kept them in cages. There was one very ugly scene when the villain held a saw and thrusted it in a woman’s groin. Since there was no background for the violence, I found it exploitative, shot for mere shock value. It was a cheap shot to scare us. It didn’t scare me. I was just disgusted.