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Jeepers Creepers

Review #198, Movie #268
Jeepers Creepers

Year Of Release

Victor Salva

Francis Ford Coppola, Tom Luse, Barry Opper

Victor Salva

The original title of the film was Here Comes The Boogeyman and was going to have Lance Henriksen as the Creeper.
Also, main duo Long and Philips weren't ever allowed to meet Jonathan Breck outside of the set, which gave their reactions to him more weight.

Siblings Trish and Darry Jenner are heading home to see their Mother... they're driving across the USA, basically on a road trip. Along the way they bicker, argue, wind each other up but seem to get on well as siblings.

When a large rusty brown truck near runs them off the road, they recall stories between them of a couple who died 20 years ago on the same road they are currently driving on...

... but their urban legends of psychopaths stalking travellers are the least of their worries when a few miles up the road they drive casually past an old Church...

... and they witness the driver of the rusty truck dumping what appears to be a dead body into the Church cellar...

Jeepers Creepers gives old style scares with modern twists and incorporates some nicely original touches to the proceedings too.

It starts out as a mystery thriller, in the same vein as maybe Joy Ride or even Spielberg's 1971 film Duel...

Jeepers then ramps up the story to newer heights and puts the audience on the back foot during the second act before ramping itself up again for the third act.
It's a very cleverly told tale with some brilliantly placed humour, some of it physical humour in regard to the strange driver of the rusty truck.

What makes the whole thing tie together better than most other horrors of modern day, is the genuinely spooky and untold story that manages to unravel itself during the running time.
There's a genuinely real feeling history to the screenplay and it also doesn't open up so much that it becomes yet another self-explanatory backstory like most horrors of recent times.

It's also wonderfully open when it comes to spooky visuals and disturbing ideas that lead up to a well conceived ending.

The acting is also top notch.
Justin Long and Gina Philips as Trish and Darry are wonderfully cast. I haven't seen Philips a great deal in other films but she holds it together really well in the strange circumstances.
Long though is by far at his most likable and really gets into the action and hysterics. I loved Justin in this film.
Their chemistry is also fantastic... their genuinely believable as Brother and Sister.

Backup comes from Patricia Belcher (playing it fantastically real as a psychic) and Jonathan Breck as the "Creeper".
Breck in particular is wonderfully dark and disturbing in what is basically a mime act.

The action is also great. Used sparingly and using shadows and silhouettes to great effect... and the more gory and louder action is also handled brilliantly too with some genuine jumps and 'whoa' moments mixed in with some standard, but knowingly standard, frights.
Some of the visuals in the first act, especially when introduced to the stranger truck driver are brilliantly photographed.


All in all... not an instant classic at time of release and garnering only 45% on some websites...
... and I'm skipping reviewing the lower than average sequel (which went too much for shocks and action rather than story and horror)...

... Jeepers Creepers gives all the spooky horror shocks and disturbing backstory and visuals mixed with nicely fine-tuned action and humour that will please any film fan.
Highly underrated fun and horror.

My rating: 87%