DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Paul Griffiths's film review of Creep

The commentary track by writer/director Chris Smith has a self-congratulatory air about it. This is his debut feature and he has every right to feel pleased with himself, but there is no sense of excitement in the way he tells it. For example, Franka Potente wears a distinctive yellow party dress throughout the film. While telling a story about being snubbed by one of Selfridges's sales staff, he lets slip that the dress cost £600 and he bought six of them. For a low budget British movie that is extravagance on a James Cameron scale. Later, he announces, with a certain degree of pride, that the set for Creep's lair was priced at £150,000. That's more than Swingers cost to make.

There is German money involved, which, to some extent, explains Potente's role. She is, Chris divulges, Germany's most popular star and this is her first British film. She appeared in the Bourne movies, with Matt Damon, but that was big budget US multi-million dollar box office bonanza time. The movie that made her famous throughout the world was Run Lola Run (1998) and she does a lot of running here, too, but what's interesting is that she runs like a girl now when before she ran like an athlete. She's not as fit as she used to be.

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Part of the deal with the German investors was that over half the film had to be shot in that country. "The sewer scenes were in Cologne," Smith says. "It's typical of the Germans to have the only clean sewer that hasn't been used for 20 years." Back in London, they had permission to use a closed off section of Charing Cross for the Underground sequences and brought in their own rats that "crapped everywhere."

Smith's commentary is spasmodic and often off the point. He tells us of his obsession with video nasties as a kid and the influence of Dark Days, the American documentary on subway dwellers in New York. He tells us how he scared teenager Kelly Scott intentionally so that she would give a more vital performance and what happened when Potente had an appendicitis.

Listening to the commentary and watching the Making Of, which involves a number of producers explaining their motives for getting involved (script, Potente, a passion for scare mongering), there are two things that stand out. The first is Sean Harris's commitment and the second is Potente's admiration for Smith - any excuse to send a flirty compliment his way. Harris's dedication is beyond the call. He spent eight hours every day in make-up preparing for his role as Creep and then two hours to take it off. He deserves some kind of medal.

The Frightfest Q & A has Smith and Potente (black haired now) and a couple of others answering questions from a cinema audience. The chemistry is good. Smith is in a laidback, chilled frame of mind and Potente is being girlish (excitable, giggly). The experience is enjoyable without being enlightening.

John Frankish on production design is probably responsible for the best section of the extras, because creating sets, especially in creepy movies, is fascinating and he is an excellent guide. Mike Stinger on make-up comes a close second. These professionals, talking about what they do, are more interesting than wondering why Smith loves Woody Allen and Cannibal Apocalypse and what is meant when he is described as a "think talker,"

Alternative Ending: Potente fights Creep under a train. This is a better ending than the one they use.

Reviewed on: 14 Jun 2005
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Creep packshot
A Brit chiller that will drag you down the tube, screaming and kicking.
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Product Code: P914801000

Region: 2

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Director's commentary; Frightfest Q&A; alternative beginning with storyboard; alternative ending with storyboard; alternative titles; Easter Egg - alternative title sequence; trailer and TV spots; make-up design featurette; production design featurette; Making Of featurette.

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