It’s not not I have an ingrained prejudice against horror movies made beyond 1996. I try not to be a hater. It’s just that there are so many horror movies from the past that I haven’t seen. I feel like I have to see all of those before seeing the new ones. So, when the opportunity to see a movie like Jeepers Creepers (2001) comes around, I’ll jump on it, but I typically won’t hunt it down. Consequently, 19 year after its release I finally got a chance to see this one. A friend on the Internet suggested it, and when I looked it up it was just there ready to be streamed.
Directed by Victor Slava, Jeepers Creepers comes highly recommended even though the film was received mixed reviews. I typically do not put much stock in that, but in this case those reviews provided a bit of foreshadowing.
Off to a Good Start
The film begins with Darry, played by Justin Long, and his sister Trish, played by Gina Phillips, driving home from college. The action begins right away when a rusty old box truck come speeding up behind them. In a brief and threatening engagement with the truck, it eventually speeds past them with no further explanation. Further up the road, Darry and Trish see the box truck parked by an old church. The pair witness a tall dark figure unloading what appears to be bodies from the truck and throwing them down a drainage pipe. The figure notices Darry and Trish and jumps in the truck.
The truck is obviously souped up. It catches Darry and Trish with no trouble at all. This time the truck smashes them in the rear, forcing them off the road. Again, the truck speeds off. At this point, Trish is over it and wants to just leave. Darry insists on driving back to the old church to find out what the man was throwing down the drain pipe. If characters always made good decisions, there would be no horror movies… sigh. When they arrive at the church, Darry decides to inspect the drain pipe. He slips and falls into what appears to be a lair full of dead bodies.
The Rest of It
I’ll refrain from summarize the rest of the story, but there are some topics that need to be raised. Darry did stumble into a lair, but the question remains, the lair for what. The antagonist doesn’t have a name other than The Creeper. It resembles a demon of sorts. Apparently, this beast possesses super strength and has wings hidden under its trenchcoat. The film never sufficiently explains what it is other than it rises every 23 years and feeds for 23 days. The beast smells fear. The similarities with Pennywise from IT are striking, but the movie doesn’t feel like a rip-off, so it’s not worth dwelling on.
Darry and Trish are approached by a psychic named Jezelle. She claims to have visions of Darry and his ultimate fate at the hands of The Creeper. She warns them in hopes of saving them. The whole situation with Jezell feels random. Her role feels like shortcut to proper story development. Thank god she is there, otherwise the audience would have no idea at all what the hell The Creeper is.
Jeepers Creepers – The Good Bits
As mentioned in the opening, the film starts off with a bang. It feels like it has potential, but quickly meanders as soon as Jezell and the police get involved. Justin Long basically plays Justin Long, and that is fine. His relationship with Trish seems believable. The simple fact that there is a male and female pair that are not lovers makes adds a little spin to the standard horror movie formula. The other interesting nuance is that Trish seems to be the strong of the two. As Jezell says, The Creeper thrives on fear. In one scene, The Creeper electively passes on Trish to kidnap and fly away with Justin. Who says that horror movies need more strong women?
Finally, the film doesn’t seem to seriously. It doesn’t so much crack jokes as it takes some scenes to ridiculous ends. For example, the scene where Trish runs over the creeper over and over and over again brings a smile to my face. An ancient man-eating demon wears a flat brimmed hat and drives a box truck gets a chuckle every time.
Jeepers Creepers – The Meh
Truthfully, Jeepers Creepers isn’t so much bad as it is inconsequential. It feels a bit like a writer showed up at a Hollywood studio with a napkin full of ideas. The execs said, “Thanks man, we’ll take it from here.” The total lack of meaningful backstory for The Creeper makes him disposable. In fact, I stand amazed that they managed to crank out two sequels on this flimsy story. The special effects of this film fail to impress. Again, they are not bad, they just fail to dazzle. The creature design feels a bit more Tales From the Darkside TV Series grade than Hollywood blockbuster. Consider that a “man in a rubber suit” warning.
As you probably can tell from the review, this one fails to garner a strong recommendation. Conversely, if you find it on late night television, you won’t be mad at yourself for watching it. However, overall it fails to stick to the ribs. There is a place in the world for silly horror movies intended for teenage audiences. I respect that, but I also categorize those films accordingly.
Jeepers Creepers is rated ‘R’, but it probably doesn’t deserve it. Other than a F-Bomb her or there, the films keeps a pretty easy tone. Most of the gore is transient apart from the slow pull back of Darry’s face at the end. I love watching horror movies with the kids, so sometimes I appreciate this feature.
The bottom-line is that if you haven’t seen it, I wouldn’t work too hard to track it down. Jeepers Creepers is average at best.
Jeepers Creepers (2001) - Jeepers Bloody Sleepers - Malevolent Dark
Director: Victor Slava
Date Created: 2001-01-01 00:00