Tessa (Lesley-Anne Down in her introductory performance), a student at a private girls' school, takes the shortcut through the forest known as Devil's End after school and is raped by a POV stalker. The girl survives but is in shock and cannot speak. The police are picking up anyone remotely suspicious because Tessa's psychiatrist Dr. Lomax (James Laurenson, credited alongside down under "and introducing" despite a recognizable small role in Ken Russell's WOMEN IN LOVE) says that the rapes could escalate to murder which happens a month later when another student slips away down the path to meet up with her boyfriend despite the school's safety precautions that no one is to go home alone. Art teacher Julie West (Suzy Kendall), who is driving several of the girls home, notices the girl missing and they drive down the path. When the car gets stuck in the mud, Julie sees out the back window a distorted figure that she describes later as "the devil". Getting out of the car, she finds the body of the missing girl. Julie's testimony about the devil is laughed off and she comes up with the idea - after being hounded by an aggressive reporter (Freddie Jones) - to leak the idea to the papers that a drawing of the killer will be published in the next issue; setting herself up as bait for the killer.
A public domain regular in the US during the days of videotape under the retitling THE CREEPERS with slasher film covers on various labels (that usually also carried THE DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE as THE DEVIL WALKS AT MIDNIGHT, BLOOD DEMON as CASTLE OF THE WALKING DEAD, and CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE as DEMON OF THE LAKE) as well as more official releases under the titles ASSAULT and IN THE DEVIL'S GARDEN, Sidney Hayer's thriller has always been a favorite of mine. Despite its title and lurid retitlings that also included SATAN'S PLAYTHINGS and TOWER OF TERROR, there is no nudity (apart from some photographs) or gore (according to imdb, the film was cut in the US to avoid an X-rating but I don't see what they would've cut). One wonders how this faired on the grindhouse circuit. Kendall is always an enjoyable lead as is Laurenson here though Down isn't given much to do in her debut and I have to admit that although I usually enjoy Frank Finlay's performances (THE KEY, LIFEFORCE) and did so here, I didn't actually recognize him as the lead detective nor Anthony Ainley from DOCTOR WHO as Laurenson's superior. The score is bombastic but keeps the action moving.
Network's DVD is letterboxed at 1.75:1 but non-anamorphic unfortunately. The letterboxing reveals that the tape release of THE CREEPERS was severely cropped with the main titles blown up and squeezed though the rest of the film faired better. Extras include a trailer (it would've been nice to see some TV spots and trailers under the other titles to see who this was advertised), photo gallery, and an episode of TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED starring Frank Finlay which I haven't watched yet.