Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Movie Review
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Jeepers Creepers

Directed By: Victor Salva

Starring: Justin Long, Gina Phillips, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher, Eileen Brennan

SubgeI knewnre: Demons & Possession

Synopsis: Two siblings on their way home from college encounter a centuries old demon that is on a mission to feed.

Thoughts: The 90s were not a great era for horror movies until Scream came along in 1996 and generated interest in a tired genre.  What followed was a dirge of “teen- slashers” ranging from entertaining to unwatchable.  Mixed in with all those PG-13 crowd pleasers was one of my favorite monster movies of the 21st Century; Jeepers Creepers.

It takes a couple of elements to create a successful horror movie, and those elements are not always the same between movies. In Jeepers Creepers a smart script is couple with competent actors and a great creature.  The design of The Creeper is what really sold this movie for me.  I loved the duster and fedora coupled with the demonic features.  Victor Salva played his hand perfectly by slowly giving us a look at the monster.

The cast is small, but effective.  The most recognizable face is easily that of Justin Long.  He’s been in several movies and of course you recognize him for his part in the countless Mac vs PC commercials.  He does a good job here portraying someone who is truly terrified of what they are encountering.  At times his hysterical actions border on annoying, but I imagine that is what someone that is really scared would act like.  In a bit of an odd twist, his sister Trish, played by Gina Phillips plays the tougher of the two.  Jonathan Breck, who dons the layers of latex to become The Creeper does a good job without saying a word.  His physical presence and the way he carried himself really helped create the monster.

I knew Director Victor Salva’s name from the Jeepers Creepers series, of which he not only directed, but also wrote.  Looking back at his filmography, I was a little surprised to see he also directed Powder, the 1995 film about the albino boy with telepathic powers.  I applaud him for his work on Jeepers Creepers, but my stomach was turned when I found he had been convicted of molesting a young actor on an earlier film. 

Jeepers Creepers was followed by a sequel (review coming soon) and a third installment is in the works.  Rumor has it that Trish is back looking to end The Creepers reign of terror once and for all.  There have not been many new horror icons to come out this century, which is sad, especially looking at what the 70s and 80s gave us (Myers, Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Pinhead and more).  I’m a little surprised that Hollywood studios didn’t do more to force out sequels at a quicker pace to establish The Creeper as a franchise powerhouse.  Hopefully, the time that Salva has had to work on another installment will pay off.

  1. Tristan Risk says:

    The 90’s were a bit of a dry spell for the monster. While JC wasn’t my favourite it was a welcome respite from the stabs taken at the subgenre in that period (Idle Hands/The Faculty, anyone? P.U.)

    • shnsjolin says:

      Funny you mention Idle Hands, as that came up in a conversation I was having the other day. I haven’t watched it since it first came out, and I don’t remember seeing it for sale anywhere either. It doesn’t sound like you are a fan, but I wouldn’t mind checking it out again.

  2. Tyson Carter says:

    I really liked this, and enjoyed the ending which was surprisingly good! Weird how Justin Long is now just a comedy guy, but he was pretty good in a serious role here I felt.

    Nice write up 🙂

    • shnsjolin says:

      Maybe Justin Long will follow in the footsteps of a lot of comedy actors and turn to serious roles as he gets older, a la Bill Murray and Tom Hanks.

  3. Good review. I really liked the first one, I thought the second one was pretty blah but I’m looking forward to part three. Trish was a badass and I’m glad she’s back. I felt the same about the director especially after someone pointed out the somewhat homoerotic tone of the second movie.

    • shnsjolin says:

      Totally agree about the second one, and something I am mentioning in my forthcoming review. I do hope that the second one returns to the tone of the first movie as well.

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