A brother and sister driving home for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature in the isolated countryside that is on the last day of its ritualistic eating spree.
Jeepers Creepers takes a welcome approach back to the old days of monster movies. It was this premise and presentation that made Jeepers Creepers 1 of my all time favorite films to watch. It also seems to have put actors Gina Philips and Justin Long on the map with their fantastic complimenting performance per brother and sister.
The film’s intro instantly focuses on the level of relationship that the 2 share with a back story of where they are coming from. An urban legend is planted in discussion with a mystery menacing vehicle not far behind. This road threat is only the begiining to the twist of events that are about to play out. Gina Philips stars as Patricia ‘Trish’ Jenner, the snappy sister who is getting over a relationship gone sour. Justin Long is her brother Darry Jenner returning home from college break. The 2 have opted for the scenic route which takes them thru the rural parts of the countryside. This countryside is also home to highway 9 which legend has it “claimed 2 victims” who to this day have gone missing.
The road trip is suddenly turned into a adventure when a extremely large menacing truck starts to play road games with them. Though it’s the passing of an old church that they spot the driver dumping dead bodies into a pipe that really ramps their interest. The film progresses into elevated levels of terror as they end up confronting this monster-menace of a stranger. The stranger is known by his pseudo villain name of “The Creeper” played by actor Jonathan Breck. “The Creeper” has an agenda and a mission that directly effects the 2 travelers. “Once he gets your scent, he’ll follow you to the ends of the earth”. “The Creeper” provides an instant villain with new surprises around every corner. His supernatural associations makes him an interesting mythical entity that seems to exist within the Jeepers Creepers world. Oh ya, the song “Jeepers Creepers” plays when trouble is brewing….take note
To date I believe I have seen this film 10 times. My attraction to this movie is the gradual build up of character on “The Creeper” character who transforms several times over the course of the movie. This transformation comes simple in a lack of full exposure that the director gives to us in portions. These portions being the redneck, the dirty old man, the monster, the villain and then at last the full fledged demon. In short we don’t get the full picture really all at once in explanation or visuals. We barely even know the origin of this thing which is hinted at thru script dialog. The 2nd film, tends to fill in those missing pieces a bit more, but there is something to be said for “lack of” and implication.
The movie was initially received with great response and a theatre showing .Jeepers actually exceeded its budget in returns by 49 million which made it a winner to “United Artists”, the studio behind it. Though somewhere along the line, some ass hole reviewer started to pick it apart and over criticize the film creating a wave of “it’s not cool to like “Jeepers Creepers” in motion. My research, determined that the film has a cult following that agree on its certain brilliance.
I say, stick to your gut instinct, as by my interests, this is not only a great film but an iconic addition to the genre. “The Creeper” should have been a icon it itself, though less than favorable reviews on its sequel sort of killed it’s motion. Director Victor Salva had his bases lined up in the original making it a classic by its own right. It follows the directorial “direction” of great filmmaking using a constant progression of events and tension culminating into it’s ultimate final confrontation.
Those who saw the film were not as pleased with its ending, which to me was more of an add on than a resolve. Though for those who might attempt to analyze it tighter would find that it provides a base for sequel, a follow up to the earlier foreshadow and a revolve on the main character of Darry Jenner. Even in it’s nastiness, there is a darker sense of humor left to consume as the titles roll by. Perhaps not the ending you were looking for, but original and unique. Upon review, a 3rd film has been announced that is currently under production.
Fun Facts – IMDB
Gina Philips (Trish) and Justin Long (Darry) were not allowed to meet Jonathan Breck before filming (in order to get a true reaction from them when they actually did see him with his full costume and makeup), nor did they see the BEATNGU truck before the opening scene was shot. When Philips first saw the truck, she said something to the effect of: “Is that the truck? Jeepers, that’s creepy.”
The original title was “Here comes the Boogeyman”.
At the time of its release Jeepers Creepers was the highest grossing film to ever be released during Labor Day weekend. The record would subsequently be broken by its own sequel, Jeepers Creepers II.
The Creeper’s single line of dialogue was cut from the film.
Jeepers Creepers is now available on blu ray per MGM
Jeepers Creepers (2001)