Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Victor Salva’s last picture was the overwrought Powder and now he follows it up with something the complete opposite of intellectual meditation –teen horror. With the Screams of the world drenching scares in irony and hipness it’s good to see an old fashioned horror flick that might actually generate real scares.
Jeepers Creepers starts off slow but methodical, with a slight nod to the old horror of the 70s where the mood was slowly and maturely built layer by layer. See brother and sister are traveling back home from their colleges together and have taken the long route across the nation’s empty plains and small towns. Their relationship is entertaining and, to a point, refreshing in how accurate they seem as siblings with their playful bickering. Upon their journey they almost get run off the road by a mad trucker driving what must have been the second car for the Munsters. After a moment to catch their breaths they begin once more driving. Further down the road they see the same truck parked at an abandoned church with a dark figure tossing something down a pipe – something awfully close to resembling a body. Some curious investigation reveals an entire church basement full of hundreds of mutilated corpses.
The two panic and run off to seek the authorities but now this figure, whatever it is, is on their trail. Of course the police just roll their eyes to their incoherent ramblings. Of course they gets hacked for their lack of faith. And of course there will be a babbling woman with some kind of psychic powers that tries to help the kids stop the monster. It pretty much gets textbook form here on out.
Jeepers Creepers is one-third a very interesting and genuinely scary movie, and then two thirds crap. It’s such a shame too because of the incredible promise the first 20 minutes showed. After that point the movie descends into the standard Boogeyman-chasing-teenagers flick. The “monster” of Creepers would have best been not shown than actually revealed. The film is spooky when all you see is a dark figure, but when the creature finally gets its close-up it’s nothing more than a patchwork Freddy Krueger with Spalding Grey’s hair.
Francis Ford Coppala produced this film so he must have saw something in it. But he likely only saw the first twenty minutes. Jeepers Creepers is for the most part a fun movie but it can’t help being a large disappointment. This is because the film could have been something so much greater than what it is, and even shows it in flashes but then takes the easy well-tread road instead.
Nate’s Grade: C+