Starring: Franka Potente
Pathé Distribution Ltd
RRP: £16.99
Certificate: 18
Available 06 June 2005

George is a young guy starting work in the sewers beneath London. Showing him the ropes is Arthur, an older man with more than 20 years experience of the labyrinth. When Arthur discovers a new passageway, they investigate, only to be viscously attacked by an unseen assailant. Switch to Kate, a young woman at a party who plans that night to swoop on George Clooney with a friend. When she learns that her friend has already left, she hails a taxi to Charring Cross tube station. The last train is due in a few minutes, but she falls asleep and wakes to discover the train has left and she is alone. Not only that; she can't exit the station, because she's locked in. Someone else is close-by, and turns out to be a man from the party with designs on her. However, when he himself is killed Kate and the surviving sewer worker, George, are suddenly running for their lives...

I keep changing my opinion about this film. First time writer-directors usually produce either something wonderfully original or plain trash. But this is something in-between. Breaking the format down, the Creep character is like a cross between Gollum and and Jason Vorhees. It's not very frightening (or maybe I've just become hardened to horror films), although a few people reacted differently when I first saw this on the big screen. Much more eerie is the idea of being locked in at an underground station overnight. Having said that, I'm certain I would feel differently if a creature emerged from the tunnels and wanted to perform a twisted surgery on me!

This surgery comes from the background that the Creep (actually called Craig) was one of many child test subjects (possibly for deformities) experimented on by a discredited doctor. The area was abandoned and the other children removed, but Craig hid away and was left to survive in the catacombs of London. The director wanted the Creep to be a person rather than a monster, but I'm not entirely sure that works.

Although the film is enjoyable (all performances are good) I much preferred the extras and, in particular, the Making of... documentary wherein Sean Harris (the Creep) explains how he got into character as the make-up was applied, and how he ignored the other actors if they tried to talk to him. It was designed to cut off the possibility of muting the reaction to the Creep if they knew the person beneath the latex. In fact, it was made certain that the other main actors did not meet Harris before the shoot. When the filming wrapped he suddenly became Mr Nice Guy.

Other extras include a make-up featurette; the Fright Fest 2004 Q & A session; alternative beginning and end explained by director Chris Smith; trailer; production design; and a commentary. You might be interested to know alternative titles for the movie included Cellar Dweller, Horunder, and Piccadilly Nightmare.

This English and German venture makes good use of lighting and colour and is well worth a look if you haven't seen it, although I would personally have preferred a little more originality.

Ty Power

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