PHFF 2022 Capsule Review: The Creeping

This year’s Portland Horror Film Festival opening-night film comes all the way from the United Kingdom. Written and directed by Jamie Hooper, making his feature-film debut, The Creeping tells the story of Anna (Riann Steele). After the loss of her father, Anna moves in with her ailing maternal grandmother who suffers from dementia. Almost immediately upon moving in, strange occurrences plague Anna and her grandmother. It leads to dangerous situations and disturbing family secrets being revealed.

The Creeping is a ghost story on the surface, but as the layers of mystery are peeled back, the plot becomes a much deeper story about familial shame and inherited trauma. While there is a bit of a pacing lull in the middle of the film, overall the filmmakers do a nice job of tackling some pretty heavy topics while weaving them into the more typical haunted house frights.

Each performance in The Creeping is well done, but the standouts are definitely Steele (The Magicians, Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Anna and Jane Lowe (Coronation Street, Casualty) as Anna’s grandmother, Lucy. While there are some CGI effects used on the ghost that make things look a bit too bright and cartoony for the otherwise drearily-colored film, the ghost is still a frightening figure.

The Creeping uses fairly standard haunts to craft a compelling tale of inherited family trauma.


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