Saturday, 23 March 2013

Creep (2004)

“It’s like a penis, only smaller”
This is a textbook example on how to make a bloody good film about potentially expensive supernatural themes on a low budget.
Step one: Hire a largely unknown cast. The only person in this whom I knew of was Ken Campbell (I bet you read the name in his voice, didn’t you?). The cast performed superbly, however: it isn’t only stars who can act.

Step two: Make sure the music is good and eerie, and preferably Nine Inch Nails inspired. The Insects provide the perfect soundtrack for a modern, claustrophobic horror movie. It is becoming noticeable that movies like this have particularly strong soundtracks, often in this style. I approve.

Step three: Disguise your low budget by providing a dimly lit, claustrophobic environment and shooting it stylistically. The London Underground is the perfect setting for a film like this, and the directorial style is superb. The opening titles instantly tell us that the film is going to look great, and much of the effectiveness of the horror comes from glimpses, suggestion, and clever use of focus. Recently, I have criticised recently made horror films for containing gloss at the expense of scares. This film is as scary as they come while being thoroughly modern. It can be done.

I’m not entirely sure that the nature of the monster is fully explained, but then, as I keep on saying, the unknown is intrinsically scary. The film has an unobtrusive message about homeless people in The Underground. Kate is wealthy enough to be handing out twenty and fifty pound notes left, right and centre, and is clearly from a very different world to Jimmy and Mandy. And yet, even with her affluence, she ends the film sat on an Underground platform receiving money from commuters, indistinguishable from a homeless person. The message seems to be that this could happen to anyone. One nice touch is that the security guard, with his callous attitude to homeless people, dies horribly.

I have to admit that my girlfriend and I thought the rats were cute. The main “villain” was suitably scary, however, like something out of a Tool music video. So much so, in fact, that I suspect this may have been an influence. The most horrific sequence of the film is the surgery performed on Mandy, and the threat of this happening to Kate and George raises the stakes for the rest of the film. The creature, at the end, with all the blood on its face looks sort of like a clown, which deepens the scariness.

This is an excellent little film. If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend you see it now.

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