Monday, May 13, 2013
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
**This review contains spoilers**
As boredom sets in, Trish Jenner (Gina Philips) and Darry Jenner (Justin Long) come up with word games to add some excitement to their countryside road trip to visit their mother. As Darry drives Trish’s unreliable car, the siblings manage to pull a few laughs out of each other, but the fun stops, when a rusty old truck tries to run them off the road. As the driver of the rusty truck stops at an abandoned church a few miles up the road, Trish and Darry witness the mysterious figure dump two dead bodies wrapped in white sheets down a pipe leading into the ground. The figure spots Darry and Trish, and immediately pursues them in his truck. After a more aggressive attempt at trying to run Trish and Darry off the road, Darry drives through an open field for a quick escape.
Out of curiosity, and a foolish belief to do the right thing, Darry convinces Trish to return to the abandoned church, and inspect the contents beneath the pipe. Upon their arrival, Trish is scared by rats, and she accidentally drops Darry through the pipe after holding him up for a better view. In the caverns beneath the church, Darry finds one of the two victims. Darry discovers stitched wounds on the victim, and he dies shortly after Darry’s discovery. Darry finds an assortment of preserved dead bodies, stitched and hung up across the walls of the cavern. Horrified, Darry and Trish stop at a local diner to call the police for help.
After the diner, Trish and Darry are escorted by two cops in one car at night. The mysterious figure returns to murder the cops, but Trish and Darry escape to a reclusive old lady’s house. When the figure arrives, the old lady is more concerned with protecting her cats than helping Trish and Darry, or calling the police. During a struggle with a shotgun, the figure kills the old woman. Trish and Darry escape to the open road, where they learn the true identity of the figure: The Creeper (Jonathan Breck) is a winged demon, who survives by eating body parts from humans. Once The Creeper gets a likeable scent from fear, the creature will pursue his targets at all costs, with a determination to eat the desired body parts. At the diner, The Creeper was able to lock on to Darry’s scent by sniffing his dirty laundry. Angry and frustrated, Trish uses her car to run over The Creeper multiple times, seemingly killing the creature.
Trish and Darry await the arrival of their mother at a local police station in the next town, but the situation takes a bizarre turn, when Jezelle (Patricia Belcher), a local psychic, arrives to warn Trish and Darry. At the diner, Jezelle warned Darry with a phone call about the “Jeepers Creepers” song playing on the radio, because this song is a warning sign for The Creeper’s impending attack. According to Jezelle, the Jeepers Creepers song is currently playing on an old radio station. As Jezelle urges Trish and Darry to leave the police station for safety, the lights go out. Beaten, slightly deformed, and crippled, The Creeper has returned to eat the body parts from one victim. But who will The Creeper choose: Trish or Darry?
Gina Philips and Justin Long are believable in their roles, but Trish and Darry are two very stupid characters (more on that later). Patricia Belcher doesn’t show up until the very end, and she’s kind of annoying as the hysterical and panicked psychic. And Eileen Brennan is “The Cat Lady” Trish and Darry visit in the middle of the night for a chance to make a phone call. The character reminds me of The Crazy Cat Lady from The Simpsons, but you can’t properly critique Brennan’s performance, because her character is killed off a few minutes after her first and only appearance.
You won’t see The Creeper’s true identity until the very end. Jeepers Creepers takes the slow burn technique to revealing The Creeper’s true demon form, so throughout the movie you’re constantly guessing, and trying to figure out the mystery behind the unknown attacker. Is he a serial killer? A creepy stalker? An Alien? It’s hard to tell, because The Creeper’s wings don’t come out until Trish runs him over with the car towards the end. And The Creeper wears thick clothing with a long coat and a hat, so you can’t see anything. Well, you can see the grey hair sticking out the back of the hat, but that’s about it.
The finale has its flaws (more on that later), but I enjoy the sporadic moments of suspense. Most of the spooky stuff (i.e. The Creeper taunting Trish and Darry on a seemingly deserted open road at night, and The Creeper ominously standing in The Cat Lady’s yard at night, waiting to attack).
Jeepers Creepers features a few disgusting scenes of gore, and brutal violence. The Creeper using his teeth to rip the tongue out of a severed head is one example, and I can’t forget about The Creeper gnawing into a helpless prisoner, and tearing off a limb or two in the process.
BUT Trish and Darry are two very moronic characters. Here’s a list of their stupid mistakes in the movie, in chronological order (well, sort of):
-So Trish and Darry are going to visit their mother. They could’ve jumped on the freeway to save more time, and if something happened, they could’ve had a better chance to find help. But NO. Let’s take the deserted back roads through the country instead! It’ll take more time, and we’ll have to stop at a hole in the wall diner for help, while a murderer stalks us, but who cares! We get to look at a bunch of open fields with no livestock! Ugh.
-Darry’s more reliable car was an option, but instead, Trish and Darry agreed to take Trish’s piece of shit car? And yes, it’s a problem, because you’ll see a few “THE CAR WON’T START!” scenes, and the gears stick.
-Darry brings a cell phone, but the battery is dead. Seriously?
-The Creeper almost ran the siblings off the road TWICE, and the creature gave them a “don’t fuck with me” look, as Darry and Trish passed by the abandoned church. But Darry has to do the right thing, and he convinces Trish to return to the church to inspect the pipe? And on top of that, Darry has to stick himself in the pipe, and of course, Trish drops him into the underground hideout with mummified bodies.
-At night, Trish and Darry finally escape The Creeper. He’s miles away from them, and they have a good head start to the police station in the next county….but they decide to stop at The Cat Lady’s house. And guess what happens next? The Creeper catches up with them during the pit stop.
-At the church, instead of trying to help her brother out of the hole in the ground, Darry urges Trish to stand on the side of the road, and wait for help. Again, giving The Creeper more time track Darry and Trish.
-During the finale at the police station, Trish and Darry listen to and follow Jezelle without really knowing her. Jezelle leads them into a dangerous situation more than once, and Jezelle openly admits she’s not 100% confident in her predictions.
Jeepers Creepers is loaded with predictable horror clichés with the car not starting being the most annoying one. Plus, the warning signal for The Creeper’s arrival is beyond ridiculous. This movie gets its name from the actual song that’s titled “Jeepers Creepers.” The song is featured in the movie, and when it plays on any radio station, it means The Creeper is about to attack, or the creature is close by waiting for an attack. Yeah, it’s as stupid as it sounds.
Jeepers Creepers is one those frustrating and stupid horror films that will bring a lot of facepalms out of you, while screaming “don’t do that!” or “don’t go in there!” But with all that said, I still love this movie. It’s dumb fun for me, and I always get a kick out of laughing at Darry and Trish’s stupid choices throughout the movie. For me, Jeepers Creepers is a guilty pleasure, but if you wanted to give this film a 0/10, one star, or an F for a rating, I wouldn’t fuss too much, or put up a big fight.
Final Rating: 5/10