2001 - R (Violence, gore, profanity) - 87 Mins.
|Director: Victor Salva
|Producer: Tom Luse, Barry Opper
|Written By: Victor Salva
|Starring: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Patricia Belcher
|Review by: James O'Ehley
|Official Site: www.mgm.com/jeeperscreepers/
JEEPERS CREEPERS is one of those horror movies in which its characters do such unbelievably stupid things all the time that you literally want to shout at them. The screenwriters seem to be aware of this because early on in the movie one character tells another “You know the part in horror movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates him for it? This is it.”
What's that you said about my mother?
There are a lot of such parts. Let’s see: you and your sister are on a cross-country trip in one of those grand old vintage cars that only people in the movies and no-one in real life seem to drive. In the middle of nowhere you are terrorised by the driver of a huge and scary truck. After narrowly escaping this road rage incident, you see the enigmatic driver of the truck throwing what appears to be corpses stuffed into bed lined sheets into a chute next to an abandoned and remote church.
Do you (a) hightail it straight to the nearest police station to let them investigate the matter or (b) go back to investigate? If you answered (b) then you are no doubt a character in JEEPERS CREEPERS, an unexpected hit that it actually inspired a recent sequel. Such moments of post-SCREAM post-modern irony and self awareness I’ve mentioned earlier on are however far in-between in JEEPERS CREEPERS, which mostly plays it straight as a mixture between THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The brother and sister team soon gets to do more dumb and stupid things that will no doubt infuriate audiences as they become the prey of what seems to a blood-thirsty gargoyle – replete with wings (why does he drive a truck then?).
Despite the characters, there is little else in JEEPERS CREEPERS that makes any sense. To be fair though there are some effective moments in the movie. The movie starts off promisingly with some great build-up in tension thanks to great pacing and some really atmospheric, creepy locations. One third into the movie JEEPERS CREEPERS blows it when it fully reveals its Freddy Kruger-like villain and the movie becomes one endless chase sequence in which characters run around endlessly and do yet more stupid things.
A pity because, except for said moments of stupidity, it started off rather promisingly.
Something I wondered about: the villain in JEEPERS CREEPERS (without wanting to spoil too much) comes out every twenty years or so to hunt for various body parts it uses for itself. This probably explains why it goes for young twentysomethingers with model looks instead of, let’s say, thirtysomethingers such as myself who have to wear glasses and have weak lungs because of years of smoking. Fair enough (how do I know these things? The movie handily supplies us with a know-it-all psychic to explain all of this to the audience).
What I’d like to know is what does the monster do the rest of the time, you know, in those twenty-year periods in-between tracking down involuntary organ donors? I can just imagine him kicking back occasionally with a cognac and a fine cigar to read some Hegel. Or maybe he goes to ballgames a lot. Or to the movies. Just wondering aloud here . . .