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I've been reading the reviews for this film and have found myself sighing
continually. Why? Because too many people take films like this far too
literally. Like the reviewer who questions the characters decision to go
back to the church. Hello, this is a horror film and if they weren't
we wouldn't have a movie. What were you expecting? Kubrick? Jeepers
does exactly what it says on the tin. It's creepy, it's silly, and, if
can get over yourselves for a minute, lots of fun. Leave your brain at
door and have fun.
"Jeepers Creepers" is supposed to be your average monster-movie but turns out to be a very scary and above all a very entertaining film, whose script ist cleverly written and which has some sharp and enjoyable dialogues. The cast is also stunning, especially Gina Philips and Justin Long in the leading roles of Trish and Darryl. "Jeepers Creepers" provides some terrific pictures you will not forget. Definitely Salva's finest work up-to-date, leaving his poor debut feature "Powder" far behind. The less you know about this one the more fun it brings, even if there are also some disappointing facts: the special-fx-work does sometimes look cheap, but in times of CGI-effects in nearly every two fantasy-movies, i prefer the 'organic' look of old-fashioned-effects, even if one can say that they look cheap. So - see it! It's definitely worth the money. And prepare for an unconventional and surprising end...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Victor Salva's auteur turn in B-horrorland is better than most, mainly
because he is so much more interesting a storyteller than many of his
contemporaries. "Jeepers" has several things going for it: suspense,
developed characters, above-average acting, and visual style. That's not
say it's great or even very good. The movie is wildly uneven, a problem
bound to disappoint anyone grabbed by its beguiling opening.
About that opening: like the low-budget filmmaker he most resembles, George Romero, Salva has built his story upon simple, elemental horror. Kids witness what look like bodies being dumped down a sewer pipe next to a rotted church; their curiosity must be satisfied. What he accomplishes in the first act is a quite masterful bogeyman set-up, disturbing yet inviting, and for a moment, we may think we hear Tobe Hooper's chainsaws. Especially good is Salva's patience in developing his sibling protagonists, their dialogue and reading good enough to establish what most genre work can't even dream of -- plausible characters. But where Romero is famous for exploring the dimensions of his (deceptively) simple premises, Salva retreats from them into mannered predictability.
Narrowing his scope to a cat and mouse game, the writer-director fritters away too many possibilities even before the second act is out, and the third act is plainly bad. Why bother subverting expectations early on if you're only going to resort to cliché later? The clairvoyant character is lifted from "The Shining"; the police station siege is a "Terminator" retread. And why establish an aesthete-predator at all if you're only going to have him jump out periodically and kill, like any Freddy Krueger? Salva has complained about last-minute budgetary restrictions yet so much has gone wrong by the final half hour, dissipating tension, squandering sympathy, indulging in camp, and (the worst misstep) calling in his deus ex machina voodoo chile, that it's hard to see what more money could have done.
Salva's imagery, however, is always striking. The production design is shoestring brilliance, helping make his highway and sewer pipe sequences genuinely spooky. And there's subtext aplenty. The current of fetishistic erotic violence invites all sorts of interpretation; in fact, fairly or not, this may be the first horror film for which knowledge of the director's well-publicized past seems likely to make some parts scarier.
Every once in a while a new horror film comes along that reinvents the genre (Jaws, Halloween, The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street). These films not only prove to be entertaining, but they add something new and visionary to a market that seems to thrive mostly on rip-offs, sequels and spoofs. JEEPERS CREEPERS should be counted among them. While it doesn't maintain the level of thrills it achieves during the first 45 minutes or so, at just 90 minutes it does still manages to keep an effective level of adrenaline pumping shocks and scares and has one heck of a creepy ending to boot. The acting is first rate and the movie looks terrific. The CGI effects are thankfully kept to a minimum and its just a fun ride! There's nothing more to say. Rent it. Buy it. Enjoy it.
For all it's worth I thought that Jeepers Creepers was great. A lot of people have critisized this film and just did'nt like it. The only flaw in the film was the reason for them to return to the church where they saw the mysterious man. If that would have been anyone in their right mind they would have drivin as far away as posssable. I thought that Trish should have been knocked out to awaken only to find her brother gone. The only place for her to start looking would have been the church.Other than that the film was a blast. The creature was great and one of the scariest I've seen in a while. Very imagiantive and constantly asking what the hell IS THAT? As in any horror film it is ment to be entertaining. If you watched the whole thing without hitting the eject button then you must have had some intrest in it. Victor has brought back a return to the old style creature feature films that I loved in the day and hope to see him make some more in the future.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
How rare is it that we get a good monster movie? The 1950's were filled
with monster movies that as cheesy as they were, they were also a ton
of fun. Victor Salva was a fan of those movies and it shows when he
wrote Jeepers Creepers, a fun horror film with a great new movie
villain. Not to mention it was a nice break from all the crazy CGI
films of late, this was an old fashioned make up horror movie. With two
good lead actors and their silly clichés that are guilty pleasures,
this was a fun road trip movie with the great creeps.
Trish and her brother Darry are coming home from college. As they drive through the countryside, a mysterious driver in a rusty old delivery truck tries to run them off the road. After letting the vehicle pass them, they later see the same truck, in the distance off the side of the road, with a hulking man sliding what looks to be bodies covered with blood stained sheets, into a large pipe sticking out of the ground next to an old, abandoned church. Darry insists they go back and investigate. At the bottom of the pipe, he finds hundreds of bodies sewn together, covering the walls of a massive cavern beneath the church. They go to a restaurant and call the cops, they are phoned by a local psychic, Jezelle, who warns them that they are in terrible danger. She plays the song "Jeepers Creepers" on the phone, and tells them that when they hear that song, they will be in extreme danger.
There may be cliché moments with why these two "smart" adults go back to find the dead bodies, the psychic lady who everyone think is a psycho and never listens to her, and the chase scenes are a bit predictable. But I absolutely loved this movie and the risks it took. The creeper is one of the best horror movies I have seen in a long time. His make up effects and the way he hunted down his pray was just terrifying and gross at the same time. He sniffs his victims, their items and when they have something that he wants, he won't stop until he has it.
Justin Long and Gina Philips did a good job and had great chemistry. One of the things I loved about the film that instead of a cliché boyfriend/girlfriend story, they're brother and sister. Their relationship seemed genuine, the way they played off each other was perfect. My only complaint is that sometimes Gina did play the role a little dead, though I can get past it since her character seems to have a tougher edge probably from a tough break up before we meet them on the road trip. I also like that the film reminded me a little bit of Steve Spielberg's first film Duel and I wouldn't doubt that Victor got some inspiration from that film. The cars are also play a major role as a villain and what a haunting honk the creeper's truck made. I really liked Jeepers Creepers, it's scary, funny and clever and people need to lighten up because this is one of the better horror movies to come out in years.
I must say, I was expecting a lot worse from this film. The whole first
half is genuinely scary. Although the brother and sister's rivalry was
played up just a bit too much, their characters were still a lot more
believable than most modern scare films. Their dialogue was especially
natural, and didn't contain a single "oh my god, like, did I just totally
see, like, an undead demon, or is it just me?" which I praise the writers
for (there's only so many times Buffy the Vampire Slayer can say lines
that before I start doing a little slaying of my own). Despite the
squabbling the kids do, you can still warm up to them enough to feel
empathic about their plight. The cinematography was excellent, my
scene being the long pan up the side of the church. The music and sound
were cued perfectly and conveyed a true sense of fear, anxiety and
Unfortunately, the second half of the movie really suffers. Like so many other movies, once the killer/monster is revealed the whole thing goes down hill. It goes from relying on X-files-like suspense to bland gore and a cliché monster suit. Top it off with some overacting "we're not taking any crap" police officers and a poorly acted psychic lady and you turn what could have been a gem of a scary movie into a second rate dud. The biggest disappointment was the end. It was horribly tacked on in a desperate attempt at being a shocker.
Other then the whole second half, the only other complaint I have is regarding the DVD. The menus show clips from the movie which essentially run in sequence, and if you pay attention to them, they spoil just about everything. Where they are, what the monster looks like, etc. I haven't bothered to watch the menus all the way through but with any luck they spoil the ending too (but that's not really so bad in this case).
Jeepers Creepers has more in common with 1950's EC horror comic books than any B Horror movies that have been made in the past twenty years. That fact isn't bad, it's great! There are a lot of horror plot ideas out there that have never seen decent expression. The film has some decent surprises along the way and the pace stays interesting. The identity of the monster stays a little mysterious. You're not totally certain what it's supposed to be. The plot is done intelligently for a Grade B movie. The dialog isn't stupid or contrived. Go see or rent it. It's worth the cash.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Trish and Darry Jenner are brother and sister coming back home via the
back roads for the holiday break. Their journey is uneventful until
they are terrorised by 'some jerk' in a beat up old truck an event
they get over until they later see the driver unloading what looks like
bodies into a hole as they drive past. Escaping the ensuing chase,
Darry insists they go back to see what he was doing something he
deeply regrets doing when he finds mutilated and preserved bodies all
over the inside of the pit. They escape the truck again but their
attempts to get help lead to nothing and they find themselves battling
much more than the psycho driver that they first feared.
This film was overly praised on its release because it was refreshingly free of the self-awareness and irony that many modern horrors had been full of since Scream. For my money though, the lack of irony didn't mean it would be a good horror movie and, not being good with the scary stuff at the best of times I decided to give it a miss. When it came on TV, I decided to give it a go even though I'm not really a fan of the teen horror genre. However this film is actually a lot better than the normal teen horrors because, like the critics said, it isn't full of the usual clichés and so on. Instead the plot is a pretty tense and simple affair where we are only given two teens rather than a group that will slowly be picked off. The film is not terrifying but it is pretty creepy and has a good, consistent tone to it that is quite unnerving.
The strength of the film is that it doesn't lose momentum when the creature is revealed; usually modern creature features lose a lot of their tension when the (usually CGI) beast is fully seen. Here we have several stages (truck/shadow/man/creepy man/beast) and they all are effective. Salva directs well and injects a good sense of tension into the film but he also knows how to frame a shot his use of darkness and the tunnel spotlight effect both being pretty effective. Of course it is still just a horror movie and is not perfect but I must admit that I was drawn into it easily early on, even if it did tend to flag a bit as it progresses.
Even though it is not strictly a teen horror, we still have to put up with two rather annoying teenagers in the lead role but I suppose that is to be expected from Salva - according to the courts he has worked with minors before! In fairness to both the actors in the lead roles, they do pretty well, managing to come across real when required (as opposed to fodder filler) but also seeming genuinely afraid. Both Phillips and Long were better than I expected and did well acting as the core of the film. The creature itself is also a good presence even if it does lose a little bit of its creepiness when the wings come out.
Overall this was a surprisingly enjoyable horror movie but of course it is still a teen horror of sorts so don't assume that it will be perfect it still does pretty much what you expect it to. Like the critics though, I enjoyed its lack of knowing cynicism and it did have a good sense of pace and tension even if it wasn't really 'horrifying'. Still a teen horror then, but one that is better than the norm and worth seeing if you like the genre.
Hearing mixed reviews about this movie I wasn't sure what to expect. I heard from several people that the first half was good, and that it went down hill from there. So how come an hour into the movie I found myself really enjoying it? The story was actually going good, it also was actually scary, scary like Halloween, not Scream. Which is a good change. Remember don't listen to what other people say, if you like scary movies, and no not to take them seriously go see this, it's worth the money.
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