Monday, May 7, 2012

Jeepers Creepers

Golly jeepers. Where'd you get those peepers?
Peepshow, creepshow. Where did you get those eyes?

- Siouxsie and the Banshees

Back in 2001, horror seemed to be, for lack of a better word, dead. Original horror was taking a backseat to the bland "Scream" format and movies were formulaic to say the least, with bland actors saying bland dialogue while looking blandly pretty. Oh, and everything was PG-13 (sigh.) However, every so often one or two little gems would sneak in and we'd get a glimpse of good horror. So we got Jeepers Creepers.

Derrey (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Phillips) are a brother and sister pair traveling home for college break together along a somewhat desolate road and bickering as siblings do. It all seems normal enough, until a truck from hell with the vanity plate "beatingu" tries to run them off the road. Along the way they learn that the driver is not a man, but a thing and that "thing" needs to get body parts ever 23 years. Well, not just any body parts from any body. You see he sniffs you out and if you have something he likes, he takes it from you and it becomes part of him. And after sniffing around the heroes a bit, the creature decides that one of them has something tasty it wants. And the true horror begins as they realize that "beatingu" doesn't stand for two words but three....

Okay, let's start with a few minor issues before we get to the good stuff. First of all, the main characters in this movie do stupid things, things like going down a drain pipe after they see the driver/killer throwing what appears to be a wrapped up body down there.  It’s those moments that make you scream “WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?" and sadly they do quite a few things like that throughout the movie, especially Justin Long's character who appears at times to have the IQ for a turnip.

But for all those moments, Jeepers Creepers doesn't fail to entertain and is high on character involvement. The psychic who knows what the creature wants and how it needs to feed is a nice touch, played brilliantly by Patricia Belcher, who's one of those 'you'd know her if you saw her' actresses. Gina and Justin make a convincing brother/sister duo and Eileen Brennan adds just the right amount of zaniness as a gun-totin' crazy cat lady the kids run into while trying not to be eaten.

But forget all of them, let's talk about the monster.

The monster for the most part is kept in the shadows which which helps with the freak-you-out factor. And once you do see him, he's something to behold, with some pretty good practical effects, rare nowadays with so much crap CGI. But what is really interesting about him are the weird almost-human qualities. He walks like a man, dresses like a man, obviously can drive a truck, whistles, listens to music. The type of 'monster' monsters you see in horror movies are never able to do those things, which makes The Creeper unforgettably unique. And once he gets the body part he’s looking for, whoo boy…let’s just say he doesn’t exactly fool around.

Jeepers is a fun flick that introduces a little novelty into a tired genre and at the very least it’s nice holla-out to originality. Followed by a sequel which I hate and continue to loathe to this day (although many people seemingly disagree.)

Favorite Moments (may contain spoilers):
  • Justin Long’s screams at the end while the song Jeepers Creepers plays in the background.
  • Jezelle the psychic’s phone call “Have you seen the cats yet?”
  • The Monster’s full face reveal inside of the police station.
 Fun Facts Kids!
  • The actor who plays the ‘bald cop’ at the police station is the same guy who plays The Creeper.
  • Justin Long’s character has a small cameo in Jeepers Creepers 2 with a couple key parts missing.
  • The part of The Creeper was originally written for Lance Henriksen.
  • Writer/director Vincent Salva may be a bit of a creeper himself with a previous arrest for misconduct with a minor.

Agree? Disagree? Or just have a random string of curse words you'd like to share? Comment!


Anonymous said...

I just saw this movie on TV again the other day & was reminded how great it was.

As you mentioned there were so many bad horror movies released around the 00's, so this one particularly stood out for being original.

Loved the ending & 10+ years later the jeepers creepers jingle is still stuck in my head.

Unfortunately as is the way with sequels, it absolutely sucked!

Cheryl Z said...

Yeah, the second one was pretty terrible.

I really loved the monster in this movie though. You're right, it was very original.

crazycanuck said...

Jeepers, this is a good movie, terrific opening 20 minutes.