Retro Review: Jeepers Creepers

A deserted prairie road, two squabbling siblings and one monstrosity are the key elements of the new horror film “Jeepers Creepers” by “Powder” writer-director Victor Salva.

“Jeepers” opens with two squabbling siblings, Trisha (Ally McBeal’s Gina Phillips) and Darius (Justin Long), as they drive a shortcut through the country on their way home. They begin to chatter about a couple that went missing some twenty years ago on the road that they happen to be coasting along.

The couple witnesses a trench-coated figure dumping something down an old church’s drainage pipe. The “something” is wrapped in a bed sheet that could be bloodstained. The siblings speculate it could be dead bodies.

Before they can put two and two together they are being chased by the trench-coated figure’s menacing truck. Their car ends up skidding off the road and a debate between the siblings commences about what has just occurred. Darius decides that they must return to the church and see if anyone needs help. What would you do?

“Jeepers” begins very strong as the tension and curiosity may just bring us into the minds of the leads. But as the film continues it gets really hard to relate and continue to follow these characters. The reason being is that they represent the most daftness of horror heroes. In a lot of horror films, the heroes may do one or two things really stupid but every stupid thing there is to do here is what the heroes do. This really drove me to throw up my arms. Why isn’t there a shred of compassion, intelligence or even common sense between them?

Another element that really frustrated me about this film was that the people actually stopped and looked at what the film’s central monstrosity is doing. It’s almost like watching bears at the dump and then getting out of the car to get pictures of the bears as they climb all over your car. This isn’t the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet, people. This is a freak that kills people. Where does the barrier between dumb and utterly stupid in horror films start and stop?

I liked the film’s “Creeper” and his mystery but the film does such a poor job of really fleshing him out that we really never know his plight. There are spooky psychic speeches and various warnings. But really never know enough to really understand what is going on. The Creeper will appeal to many of the legions of fans that love Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger (still my favorite), Michael Myers, and Leatherface but for a lot of us he may just come off as another stalker-horror thing.

Another minor thing that I liked was that the film didn’t end like all the stalker-horror genre films before it and because this film is so full of unoriginal stuff this really stuck out for me. You have to understand almost every stalker-horror cliché is in this film. The clichés are so thick that you wonder if this is a “Friday the 13th” sequel.

Jeepers Creepers” lacks the intelligence needed for a really deep down scary film. It is basic horror genre at best. Sure it has gruesome gore, stimulating shocks and screaming victims but never materializes into anything memorable. Believe me, the co-eds in the Friday the 13th films had more intelligence than these people.

2 out of 5

So Says The Soothsayer.

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