(March 05) by Jsyn.
Think WRONG TURN in a subway station! I just flew in from Bristol to see this flick and I'm a little jetlagged so please bear with me folks...
This UK production is from writer/ director Christopher Smith and stars Franka Potente (RUN LOLA RUN). While the Brits dont know shite about cuisine, their contributions to the horror genre are much more palatable. "Wot we got 'ere, issa right ruddy good monsta movie, guvna! Eh wot?" Now that was a terrible accent, even in text. My apologies and God Save The Queen! ahem...
Basically Lola gets accidentally locked in the London "underground" (thats subway in English) and is stalked by some freaky psychotic murderous weirdo with a penchant for rats. Along the way she meets/teams up with some other unfortunates who get picked off as per Horror Movie 101. Lots of blood flows and gross stuff happens. This goes on for a while till it ends. Did I mention the gross stuff? Not blood pudding gross, but still nasty.
The whole movie had a similar feel as that subway scene in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. It looks great...bright and creepy at the same time. The pristine, well-lit stations are a stark comparison to the dark and grimy tunnels. The sense that you don't feel safe anywhere permeates the entire movie. Personally, subway tunnels scare me shitless. There's always some fucking monster or killer or giant alligator down there. Thankfully, this movie shares more in tone with FRIDAY THE 13TH than C.H.U.D.
It's a refreshingly straight-forward plot, without any overly contrived "twists" that seems the style of the time. The pacing sometimes toes the line between suspensful and draggy in spots but for the most part I'd say it flowed nicely. Some good points? I really liked the way they presented the Creep's backstory. Without spelling it out for the audience with unnessecary dialoge, director Smith reveals more with images than words, and the results are chilling. There was one excellent "gotcha" scare that didn't involve the obligatory "It Was Just A Cat" device or a cheap sonic blast from the soundtrack. It's also great to see some good old fashioned special makeup effects used for the Creep. Another thing I really liked was the last 2 minutes of the movie. A lesser director would have settled for a cheesy cop-out. Christopher Smith is definitley one to watch, and this movie shows his ability to do a lot with a little.
The one major gripe I had was with the casting. For most part, the performances are decent. That is, with the exception of THE FUCKING "STAR" OF THE MOVIE! Dudes, Franka is hot and all but she couldn't act herself out of wet paper bag with a flamethrower. Some of her reactions to events in the movie, be it shock, horror, confusion, concern, or even pleasant surprise, are head-scratchingly laughable. It's almost like she KNEW what was going to happen BEFORE it happened! Too bad she read the script. Hell, the guy who played the Creep acted better than her and HE was (SPOILER) pretty much mute! I guess the producers needed a "name" attached to get financing. Too bad they couldn't get Jessica Biel or even the scrumptious Cerina Vincent. Yeah, that would've worked!
Funny thing...as I was watching this movie, I kept thinking of that Prodigy video for "Firestarter". The one where that freaky reverse-mohawk guy is bugging out in those round subway tunnels. Actually, now that I think about it, that dude looked kinda like the Creep! And no one has really heard much from Prodigy since then....things that make ya go hmmm!!!
Overall it's quite good fun with decent scares and some nasty effects. Despite minor shortcomings, it's something I would'nt mind spending 8 quid on, depending on the currency exchange rate. Hopefully Lions Gate or someone will pick this up for domestic distribution and give it a nice theatrical run.
Go see it if and when it comes out here or get on a plane.