[PANIC FEST] THE CREEPING Review - Jamie Hooper’s Haunted Feature Debut of Foreboding Family Secrets
Brianna Geiger calls The Creeping a classic haunted house story with a sinister score and terrifying twists.
In their feature-length directorial debut, the British horror film THE CREEPING (2022), Jamie Hooper co-writes a haunted house tale of foreboding family secrets with Helen Miles. The film world premiered at Panic Fest this week and stars Riann Steele as Anna Reynolds, a grieving daughter who moves home to care for her ailing grandmother Lucy (Jane Lowe). Karren Marrow (Sophie Thompson) plays Lucy’s daytime caretaker, who helps Anna as she adjusts to her new life. Anna witnesses something ghastly reminding her of her childhood during her first night home. As the days go by, Anna wakes up at the same time every night and discovers more about her past with each terrifying experience before finding herself fighting an evil supernatural presence with a dark secret.
The performances exceptionally portray the fear each character experiences as they witness the horrifying events within the house. Steele is in many scenes, and her skilled performance exudes true desperation, especially when Anna finds herself stuck in the garage with the car running. Her pleas for help and distress are terrifying and add to an already tense atmosphere.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is its direction. Hooper writes an undetectable ending that audiences won’t see coming. Several details lean toward a different outcome when suddenly, a stunning twist reveals itself. Everything we once thought we knew is upside down, and the situation's reality is much darker than expected. We must remember that Anna lost her father and is already under immense stress. With her newfound knowledge of a family she barely knew, it's difficult to process the events she goes through and heartbreaking to watch.
Audiences will be caught off-guard by Stephanie Taylor’s sinister score. There are goosebumps to be had with the music alone producing countless jumpscares. Sounds and music accompany every tense moment to unsettle and leave us breathless. It is hard to describe the intense feeling reverberating within when hearing the cords of a violin screech. It left me with a chill down my spine.
THE CREEPING provoked me to keep the lights on while watching. There isn’t a moment I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, even during scenes awash with daylight. Daylight won’t keep us safe. The supernatural forces at play are just as active during waking hours. The film presents a unique story and infuses surprises into an otherwise well-worn haunted house theme in horror cinema. It’s worth the watch, but you may not want to view it alone.