"BEATINGU" - license plate on The Creeper's truck
After watching a load of foreign films, I decided it was time to revisit an old American friend of mine and evaluate if my love for this modern franchise kicker was actually valid or not. Thusly "Jeepers Creepers" found its way off my shelf and back into rotation. Surprisingly this little horror ditty holds up well under scrutiny and still comes off as a modern classic. It's creepy, its violent, and best of all it really kicks off a great idea that was just born to franchise.
Trish (Philips) and Darry (Long) are siblings taking the back roads home from college for a nice break. Unfortunately, when they find themselves witness to a supposed body dumping by an abandoned church they end up on the pissed off end of a mysterious person doing some very creepy things. The kids desperately try to find help, but this 'creeper' is hunting them down. It's a race against time and doubt as these young frightened kids piece together a killing spree that may just have greater sinister meaning and lasts for decades.
The interesting aspect of what makes "Jeepers Creepers" such a great watch is that it could have become a really bad film at any time. It feels like a solid Clive Barker story as it plays out with its odd tips towards demonic themes and ancient evils and like most Clive Barker stories put to film it could have gone horribly awry. It doesn't. It's odder moments are played off with a dark humor tone that works really well with its old school atmosphere and well placed subtlety and when the film wants to be gory and fear oriented it can. It's a versatility that not many modern Horror films are able to conjure up.
The film also does a very admirable job at crafting its story. It does a smart job building it slowly creating the setting and the main players and keeps adding more and more onto not letting the audience get comfortable knowing where its going. It never feels or stresses on making the audience "guess the ending", but it makes you want to watch it unravel, which works to its benefit.
"Jeepers Creepers" does a damn fine job crafting a unique modern horror experience for its viewers. The actors get the job done (it would turn out later that Justin Long would become a genre regular) and Victor Salva's directing is quite impressive. It's definitely one of the highlights that has come from America in this modern age. Worth the watch if you are willing to overlook a 'glorified' monster flick.
Written By Matt Reifschneider