The Creeper

Posted in Audio by - May 03, 2020
The Creeper

Released April 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

As Hallowe’en and its celebrations descend upon Coal Hill Academy in Lizzie Hopley’s ‘The Creeper,’ a mysterious distress call summons Quill and Matteusz to a boarded-up house in Shoreditch. When the routine investigation goes awry, however, it’s up to Charlie and April to confront the Creeper inside in a race against time to save their friends and much more.

In every sense of the word, ‘The Creeper’ is follows a very traditional Hallowe’en setup to put its story in motion. With April incredibly excited for the costume party and more than casually nudging her friends to take part, Charlie and she suddenly find themselves chasing after their friends who have found trouble and disappeared within a building that has all the makings of a haunted house. Dervla Kirwan and Jordan Renzo have a short time together at the start to put Quill’s actions and technology into context, and both do well to further develop the intriguing relationship they have developed due to their mutual association with Charlie, but this is very much April’s chance to shine as strange noises, sensations, and symbols unveil a plot that stretches far beyond the confines of this condemned domicile.

The story succeeds in building up the tension and mysterious atmosphere, and April’s very human perspectives compare and contrast nicely with Charlie’s more robust Rhodian past as both must confront the uncertainty of the unknown and the mounting concerns that they may not be able to find their friends. However, once that sense of uncertainty is broken with the revelation that the cellar is home to star charts and the last vestige of a business operation gone wrong, it loses some of its lustre. Strangely, part of this is down to the titular Creeper who, despite obviously being played exactly as Hopley desired since she provides the voice, is a gross caricature of a stereotypical witch and somewhat hard to accept as a real figure. To be fair, the script does do a decent job of humanizing her in the end as April manages to form an emotional connection as the aptly-renamed Miss Steel finds ties to her previous life severed. Unfortunately, the jaunt into this previous life doesn’t quite resonate as much as it should, and it’s again April and her sheer determination to save her friends no matter the consequences that keeps it from fully falling flat. A possession storyline is a go-to for character drama when lives are at stake, but when Matteusz falls victim to this otherworldly force, there’s too little time for this new personality to truly develop before it’s undone far too easily with the power of memories a major driving force.

‘The Creeper’ is by no means a bad story, but it delivers an odd combination of immense atmosphere during the buildup with a payoff that simply fails to meet expectations. The two main guest characters fail to bring the intended impact, but fortunately the power of the leads’ friendships and an incredible outing from Sophie Hopkins in particular carry the narrative from the lighthearted beginnings to the dramatic conclusion. As always, the sound design and direction keep the action moving fluidly, but there just isn’t enough time for the science fiction element and its fallout to adequately develop once the core of the mystery is introduced, leaving a story with plenty of pros and cons to consider as a result.

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