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10/31/07

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After watching Severance a few nights back and really enjoying it, I looked into what else director Christopher Smith had done. His only other feature was Creep, which I already had on my list to watch because I'm in love with Franka Potente and I enjoyed her previous horror film Anatomy.

Knowing how funny Severance is, I was expecting the same from Creep; it isn't a horror-comedy, just straight horror, so it took a little longer for me to get into it. But it too is an extremely well made film. I berated yesterday's movie All Souls Day for all of it's problems, despite it being a low-budget film, and this is the reason why; I'm betting these two films had around the same budget, but Creep is a much more complete film. It's smart, it's well made, the film doesn't make excuses for it's low-budget, it does everything it can within it's own little world.

Franka plays a smart, sophisticated woman who falls asleep on the platform for the London Underground. She wakes up to an empty subway terminal and is unable to find a way out. Of course she's not actually alone and is soon fighting off gross things that go bump in the night.

There's a wonderful sense of claustrophobia that fills the film; the entire time you can feel the darkness and the cramped settings that contain her with this creature. The creep is scary and horrible to look at, but realistic. He's made-up to look like something that could actually live in our world; and though he never says more than a few words, he feels like a complete character. We get glimpses of his past and why he does what he does, but nothing is spelled out, you're left to fill in the blanks. And even though he does disgusting and despicable things, there is a sense of understanding and you can relate to him. He is a truly memorable monster.

And what can I say about Franka? I've loved her as an actress since the first moment I saw her in Run Lola Run. She has this accessible beauty and a gravitas about her, that makes everything she does seem real, no matter what situation a film may put her in. Again she's wonderful here; she starts off as this pretentious girl-of-the-world, and by the end she is beaten up, bloodied, bruised and covered in mud and you can completely buy her as both. With a lesser actress this film just wouldn't have worked.

Christopher Smith is a force to be reckoned with. Between this and Severance I think we have a major new filmmaking talent. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.



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