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How to Survive the London Underground

  • Jan 25, 2010
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My friend and I came into contact with Creep while browsing the racks at the video store. The art looked cool, the copy read well, so we went for it. She only watched it that one time. I took it home and played it again.

Kate, played be Franka Potente, leaves a party to hunt down and try to bed George Clooney. After failing to hail a cab, she descends into the tube with time enough to catch the last train from Charing Cross. But she falls asleep on the platform and when she wakes, the trains have all gone and she's locked in the station. But she's not alone. A workmate, Guy, followed her from the party and, high on coke, he attempts to rape her. Guy's interrupted when someone pulls him off Kate and attacks him. Kate uses this opportunity to run away. She finds help in Jimmy, a homeless person who agrees to take her down the tracks to the security station. But it's too late. Too late for Kate, for Jimmy, and everyone else. Guy's attacker is roaming the tube, and he won't stop till morning.

After that first (and for Mina, only) viewing we were pretty well creeped out and grossed out by the end of it. Though not particularly disgusting or overly graphic, Creep is fairly suspenseful at times, a bit predictable at others, but all together relatively unique. The film's strength lies in its monster, the creep. Raised as a medical experiment and then abandonned or forgotten, the creep roams the London Underground with his rats, finding victims in the hapless or homeless souls that wander into his realm.

Though human, the creep is inhuman in his behaviours and how he treats his victims. Outwardly he's a person, though with some minor physical deformity, but inwardly he's something else entirely. One of the more horrifying scenes comes when the creep performs a kind of surgery on one of his victims. He goes through the motions of washing his hands, he dresses himself in a surgical gown and gloves, and pretends to gas his patient. But the "surgery" itself is a violent and bloody affair, suggesting the creep has no real understanding of medicine or anatomy. By going through the motions of surgery, the creep is reenacting scenes from his past, copying the behaviours he witnessed as a child, but his actions lack context--or at least any context that we can understand.

And yet the creep knows and understands us, in a way. He, at one point, prey on Kate's compassion, aping words he heard earlier, a pleading cry for salvation. It has the appropriate effect and Kate is momentarily stunned. But the wretched creature before her is more deceitful than pathetic, and the creep uses Kate's pity against her. It's a costly error.

I don't mean to suggest that Creep is heavy on the commentary. The film is mostly just Franka Potente running away from a monster. But Kate's drive to get out only makes things worse for everyone around her. She didn't exactly bring this horror upon herself--recall she was a victim of an attempted rape--but her will to survive is challenged by her humanity. Each person she meets either falls victim to the creep or, if already taken by the creep, their lives somehow grow worse.

Franka does not become the monster she is trying to escape, but she does undergo a change of sorts. Dirty and exhausted, she climbs onto the platform at Charing Cross where her horrific journey began, just as the morning trains start to run. She survived the night, but she is not the same person she was a few hours ago. Curled up on the platform, a commuter mistakes her for a homeless person and gives her a couple of pounds. One can't help but think of how and when Kate will return to her life; all she has to do is leave the station--it's what she's been striving for--but all she does is cry.

This was my third time seeing this movie and still got to me. Some things I guess, like creepy underground monsters, just don't get old.
How to Survive the London Underground How to Survive the London Underground

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January 28, 2010
Some things sound much better than they actually are and I think this may be one of them. It has all the elements that I've seen in dozens of flix lately ranging from DESCENT to EDEN LAKE, well maybe not that one because the heroine doesn't make it out alive in EDEN LAKE, but it has become a bit of a cliche. It does sound as if it's constructed and executed very effectively though.
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** out of ****     Christopher Smith has made some interesting films in the past few years. I liked "Severance" and I also liked "Black Death", so I decided that perhaps it was time to see the man's debut feature. And like a lot of debut films, it's neither an accurate display of the director's talent as both a filmmaker and a story-teller, but it also squanders its inventive premise. A lot of inspiration went into the film; but little went out. Kind of like the sewer system …
About the reviewer
I love horror movies. I love to talk about them, read about them, and even watch them from time to time. I write a blog and host a weekly podacast with Count Vardulon in which we argue about, laugh over, … more
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About this movie



Genre: Horror
Release Date: January 1, 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 1hr 24min
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