This is another good, mainstream horror movie. As I already mentioned in some of the previous reviews, Jeepers Creepers belongs to that “turn-of-the-century” wave of horror movies along with Darkness Falls, Thir13en Ghosts, Wrong Turn, Ghosts of Mars, and Jason X. It features sharp directing, great practical effects, and sleek cinematography. I’ll just hang on to those visuals for a bit because I saw the movie almost eight years ago and I still remember some of the scenes and special effects.
At its heart, Jeepers Creepers is a slick creature feature with a juicy atmosphere and great performances. It bothers me to say that the director Victor Salva did a good job because he’s such a piece of shit in real life. This is the real test of my “separate the art from the artist” policy. However, at that time I had no idea that Salva was a convicted pedophile and that the police found a bunch of child pornography in his apartment at the time of the arrest.
You should also know that none other than Francis Ford Coppola came to his aid and bailed him out despite fully knowing what the charges were. All of this sours the taste of an otherwise sturdy and engaging movie. What’s done is done and all we can do is bring awareness to these issues by talking about them. Moving on, the cast of Jeepers Creepers did a fantastic job. Jonathan Breck was really scary as the Creeper and this was also the breakout role for Justin Long.
One of the main reasons Jeepers Creepers is The Creeper itself. This demon from hell looks really cool and menacing, like something out of your nightmares. More importantly, the special effects team went for the practical effects instead of CGI, a strange decision at that time. However, it turned out to be the right one. The effects stood the test of time and the movies still look great and believable. It kind of reminds me of the creature from the vastly underrated nineties horror fantasy movie Wishmaster.
Brother and sister, Trish and Darry are on their way home from college. They, of course, decided to drive across the country, because that’s the best way to get killed. As they were driving through Florida, an old truck fucks with them a bit on the road. They later see the same truck parked near an abandoned church. After witnessing some strange stuff happening, they decide to investigate. This will be a wrong move…
Apart from the creature itself, his truck feels like another cool character. The Creeper’s truck is a 1941 Chevrolet Heavy-Duty Cab Over Engine, and it was in a pretty rundown condition during filming. It adds to the overall American vibe of the movie. I mean, the story is taking place in Florida so The Creeper is actually one of the “Florida Men”. And it also features a road rage incident, college kids sticking their noses everywhere, and other fun, familiar stuff. The action starts pretty much immediately and it doesn’t stop until the very end, some ninety minutes later.
Jeepers Creepers is a commercial mainstream movie meaning there won’t be fountains of blood or anything like that. The atmosphere, however, is intense and engaging making up for that. And don’t think for a second there won’t be a couple of nasty scenes because it most definitely will be. The one where Darry accidentally falls into the Creeper’s lair is one of the better ones. I still remember how scared I was watching for the first time and yelling get the fuck out!
Lastly, there’s just one more aspect to cover: writing. I just loved the writing here, it wasn’t the usual “oh my god”, but it was more realistic and in tune with the characters. So, the movie doesn’t suffer from that lame-ass atmosphere where you’re just waiting for the creature to appear. There’s a sequel Jeepers Creepers II, so check it out, it’s also good and it features more shots of the Creeper than the first one.
Director: Victor Salva
Writer: Victor Salva
Cast: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher, Brandon Smith
Fun Facts: The original title was “Here comes the Boogeyman”.
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0263488/