Sunday, 22 March 2009

CREEP: MORE TUBE TRAIN TERROR


Following on from THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, here's an earlier film which also deals with underground carnage. This time, we're in London.

Don't Ride On Late Night Trains". Sound advice, whether or not you happen to have seen Aldo Lado's 80s sleazefest, and a wholly appropriate warning for Kate (Franka Potente) - a young German girl living and working in London.

The promise of a VIP pass to a George Clooney showbiz bash prompts Kate to make an early exit from a party where she's been kept busy fighting off the amorous attentions of co-worker Guy (Jeremy Sheffield). When the aforementioned lech turns up on an empty Charing Cross tube train, Kate is 'rescued' by the titular crature who appears to offer a rather drastic type of security for vulnerable females.

Don't you believe it? Soon, this by now terrified young woman is frantically trying to break out of a transport network that is locked and chained til a new dawn breaks, with a homeless couple (Paul Rattray and Kelly Scott) and their dog providing the only immediate aid.

Taken at face value, Creep packs in action and thrills a-plenty during its brisk 85 minute running time, though Potente's character requires generous suspension of disbelief during the more frantic set-pieces. The Creep - a deformed ex-member of the human race - immediately recalls the creature from Gary Sherman's Death Line (a major influence on this film), although the air of medical deviancy and use of surgical apparatus of evil can be traced to the more recent SESSION 9.

Despite its flaws - top-heavy on combat, - CREEP is a pleasing throwback to 70s British horror, and it's good to see such a film given appropriate cinema cetification: sure, we all hate to see a director's vision destroyed by nonsensical BBFC cuts, but let's get real with regard to '15' and '18' certificates. Creep deserved the latter, and I'm still amazed at several recent theatrical releases that were deemed suitable for younger audiences.

It's bloody, often downright nasty (witness the scene where Creep begs for mercy - a plea based on memory rather than contrition) and absolutely guaranteed to induce fear and loathing the next time you find yourself down in the tube station at midnight with a seemingly empty platform for company.

Good, unwholesome entertainment, and how refreshing to encounter a genre movie prepared to rope in national and regional issues of concern: drug abuse, the disenfranchised and the sorry state of our famous underground networks all come under the spotlight.

I do hope Boris Johnson is watching.

6 comments:

  1. I liked this one!Thought the monster was similar to the ones in the descent. Agree with your final summary :

    "and how refreshing to encounter a genre movie prepared to rope in national and regional issues of concern"

    it was a very British film.

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  2. Cheers, Nigel. A film we can be proud of. Have yet to see The Descent, and will endeavour to put that right sometime soon.

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  3. I enjoyed this film too. I thought that Franka Potente did a fine job and the mood and atmosphere was suitably ominous. I know I sure wouldn't want to get trapped down in those tunnels and corridors at night. Has the director gone on to do anything else?

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  4. I enjoy the film from an outside American viewing point as well, but it is great to hear that some of the subtext pointed to in the film makes such a powerful statement! Smith claims he was entirely unaware of Death Line (Raw Meat here in the States) during the production, but aspects of both Creep and The Descent draw from different elements of Death Line. Loved Creep though, didnt enjoy Severance so much, but very happy to finally see a strong revival of British horror!

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  5. Thanks, JD. Yes, Potente is excellent here and the film scores highly on many levels. Smith is currently working on Triangle, and has The Black Death slated for 2010; the latter sounds very promising, as it concerns people coming back to life in a town smitten by the plague.

    Cheers, dragonmanes. I was surprised that Smith was unaware of Death Line. As you point out, Creep does share certain aspects of this film. Like you, I didn't enjoy Severance as much, but look forward to Smith's fortcoming features.

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  6. I've never seen this one before. I actually am not sure if I've ever heard of it or not. It sounds really cool though.

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