Laurel & Hardy of the sewers provide a witty opening horror tease before we cut to big-star Franke Potente's character in the ordinary world.
Tipsy & on her own travelling from one London party to the next, she needs to catch the tube, but falls asleep for what seems like a moment, waking to find herself locked in the subway system after hours.
There follows about forty-five minutes of "chased through the London underground" by an unseen slasher-killer.
Having Potente as the fleeing woman uplifts the film, because she's a superb screen presence & puts some real acting into each fright & escape sequence. But apart from her presence, it's otherwise pretty standard stuff for this length of time.
But then quite suddenly the killer is revealed, & it's Creature Feature Time thereafter, & a startlingly good one.
Throughout the last two-thirds of the film we get a real eye-full of the "monster" & a few clues so that we can put together how he came to exist as a deformed feral man acting out gross & grotesque fantasies of being a surgeon.
The father-figure of his childhood, who may well have been a mad scientist, did surgeries on children, whether to help the already deformed or to create monsters we're never fully informed.
When the underground laboratory was abandoned & sealed up, one of the children survived, & makes his presence known some twenty or more years later.
Though "Craig" is endlessly monstrous & frightening, & keeps doing appalling things, he's nevertheless increasingly sympathetic, like the monsters in old Universal horror classics. This sets Creep (2004) well above most modern creature features, as we feel so very sorry for him.
Just about every victim is a character worthy of each actor's skills & very far from the stock victims of most slasher or monster flicks.
A multitude of underground locations knit the subway to a sewage treatment center to warehouse basement, abandoned tunnels, sleuces, mucky rat-infested crawlspaces. Excellent editing makes it feel like a continuous world that a subterranean feral man could master as a hunting territory.
There's a gothic beauty to the horrors & even to the deformed, twisted body postures of Creep himself, gloriously played by Sean Harris, who creates a screen presence part Marcel Marceau art-mime, part elfen demon from the imagination of Aubrey Beardsley.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl