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 Critic's Rating
 Date Posted
   5th June, 2005
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Cast: Franka Potente, Sean Harris, Vas Blackwood
Director: Christopher Smith

What do you call a film that blurs the line between disturbing and disgusting? Try "Creep." The horror genre has much to offer when scares and shocks come without banal exploitation (Roman Polanski's "The Tenant" and Robert Wise's "The Haunting"). And there have been instances where even extreme gore can find justification in the context of its narrative (Tobe Hooper's controversial "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"); and when the ultra-violence is redeemed through irreverence (Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" Trilogy). But here is this film that is about stock characters written into the story for the simple reason of running around and getting killed in grisly, stomach-churning ways.

"Creep" starts off relatively low-key in its introduction of our protagonist, Kate (Franka Potente), a trendy party girl who fancies celebrity lord George Clooney and wants to "shag him." (Note: Clooney never appears in person though the screenwriter does conveniently arrange for the unseen heartthrob to be in London). On her rendezvous to meet George, as is usually the case, fate steps in. Owing to the lack of taxis (remember, patience pays) in a hurry Kate decides to take the underground train. Big mistake because in the dark murky shadows of the station lurks a creature of unimaginable horror! Soon enough the killing rampage begins. Kate, a homeless couple, a sewer plumber and the obvious missing ingredient here a cute dog are all trapped in a hellish situation neither they nor we can escape. I won't go into further details about their predicament or explicate the nature of the monster that haunts them should you still decide to go see "Creep" by the end of this review (in which case I have failed).

Balancing the delicate art of giving credit where it is due, writer-director Christopher Smith does keep his creature's back story fairly exposition-free and allows us to use our imagination even if it is for a limited time. There are conscious attempts to evoke empathy for our villain, but nothing can condone one particular scene of macabre: it involves a woman who pleads for her life while strapped to an operation table and a saw grinding both flesh and bone. "Creep" seems to think that wanton sadism alone will justify its existence. It grossly underestimates its audience; we deserve better. - Adnan Khan

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