Horror
Jeepers Creepers
.
Dir: Victor Salva
Star: Gina Phillips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2001
Format: DVD R1
'

Whilst driving home from college for the holiday's, brother and sister Darry (Justin Long) and Trisha (Gina Philips) are almost run off the lonely and deserted highway upon which they travel by an old battered turbo driven truck as it overtakes them. Further down the highway the teenage siblings see the truck parked at the back of an old church and see it's driver throw something wrapped in a white sheet into a large corrugated metal pipe sticking out of the ground. Having been spotted obviously doing something that he shouldn't the stranger gives chase in his truck and rams the kids off the road. Once the kids manage to get the car started again and convinced that they saw a body wrapped in the white sheet they decide (in a decidedly dumb move) to go back to the church to investigate what the stranger threw into the pipe. Nothing could have prepared Darry and Trisha for what they will find at the condemned church or the startling and terrifying truth about the driver of the truck with blacked out windows and the registration plate BEATNGU

What's eating you?

Believe it or not Jeepers Creepers has a surprisingly original story that is more akin to the old "Universal" monster movies than the more modern spate of "slasher" films. Whilst watching the film it is evident (to those of us who grew up on the old horror movies) that this film has been made as it was written and it almost seems like a homage to the old black & white classics and sports a quite nostalgic ambience. Jeepers Creepers certainly owes a great deal to classics such as The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman and Dracula and with this in mind it manages to avoid the usual pitfall of being influenced by the typical over-abundance of CGI which is common place in modern cinema. It is quite ironic that the old cinematic techniques and style should translate so well and prove so effective, managing to look so fresh and new but it does and much to the films credit. Amidst this nostalgic cocktail of style you can also see the influence of the films Executive Producer Francis Ford Coppola which adds a little more weight and firmly straps you into the seat of this rollercoaster ride of suspense and horror.

The optimal use of natural and low light is superb and the portrayal of "Creeper" mostly in shadow and silhouette is a refreshing change which offers the "Creeper" and ultimately more menacing prescence. My only real criticism is that the film would have possibly been better served if the "Creeper" had been kept in shadow, without completely exposing his features although the final shot is superbly orchestrated. The film works well and amasses the tension to an almost crescendo with the eerie and stark silhouette of the "Creeper" right up until the point that you see it. Personally I would have to say that the "Creeper" would have possibly been more effective if it's features were left up to the audience to visualise as this was working well up to that point. The imagination of the viewer is invariably capable of picturing something far more horrific than is possible to fully translate to screen. The viewers imagination is permitted to run a little riot trying to visualise the "Creeper" based upon the spooky shape you see for a large proportion of the film but when you see it's face in the light it is a little dissappointing. The direction of Victor Salva although not being flawless is nonetheless very well done and he translates his story well, whilst succesfully capturing some gripping cinematography with a passion.

A clever and intelligent story by Victor Salva which he has thoughtfully brought to the screen in a way that compliments a basic but essentially pure horror story. The film keeps a good pace with it's oppressive atmosphere and holds your attention well complete with some sharp dialogue between Gina Phillips and Justin Long and some biting humour. Despite a couple of cliche'd moments early in the film, it turns them to it's advantage by taking the mickey out of them in an attempt to highlight horror movie predictability. Predictable is not however a word that can be used to accurately describe this film as it is full of surprises and the ending has to be the biggest of all. The music is very reminiscent of Jaws in places but when you get over the amazing similarity it works and fits well with the on-screen photography.

This is one of those rare films that is essentially a much needed kick up the butt for film makers as it shows that a large cast of annoying "scream queens", buckets of blood & gore and a huge budget to spend on CGI counts for very little, as a good story with careful and thoughtful direction can be a far more effective recipe for terror. It is nice to see a film made the old fashioned way which relies upon a good story and clever photography to scare you instead of shocking CGI. To be honest I have to admit that Jeepers Creepers is one of the best horror films that I have seen in a long time..........I am impressed.

Where There's a Hell, Theres a Way

Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Considering a lot of this film is in low light, a good sharp image
Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital Cool and Creepy - Good sound quality
Features Animated Photo Gallery.
"Behind The Peepers" 6 Behind-The-Scenes featurettes
Cast & Crew Filmographies
Original Trailer
Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending (original ending is better)
Commentary track by director Victor Salva
Verdict Interesting set of extra's especially the behind-the-scenes featurettes. A good disc for a good film.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home