Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Jeepers Creepers

"Jeepers Creepers" (2001, United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Victor Salva) is a modern monster movie and the first in the ever faltering series of "Jeepers Creepers"-es.

Set in the countryside of Florida, two twins, Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long), are on their way home for spring break from college. May I point out now that Trish is driving a Chevy Impala, made famous in my eyes as Dean's car in "Supernatural"!!! Ok, sorry, geeking over.

During this long and boring trip, they spot someone throwing some suspiciously bloodstained-looking, body-shaped sheets down a tube... Then they are almost suddenly run off the road by the suspicious figure in his digusting old rusty truck (also a Chevrolet) with a cryptic number plate: "BEATNU". Which could either be 'Beating You' or 'Be Eating You'. You decide.

The twins are shaken and annoyed, but recover and return to their journey. But Darry soon convinces his sister that they should go back and investigate where the 'body' was being dumped, now that the trucker has driven off. You know, in case someone needs help or a morgue or something... So they return to where they saw the Creeper with the sheet.

They investigate, the Creeper returns in his rattling old banger, and they flee. But they just can't seem to shake him off. Can they survive the time the Creeper has left in which he has to feast?

There's also a psychic lady, Jezelle (Patricia Belcher), who is an interesting  and creepy character but is clumsily laced into the plot, I always think...

A good 'show you little' kind of flick for the most part. The Creeper is creepy as hell. His long coat, big hat and lack of much else visible really keeps the tension up. The fact he cannot be killed while it's still within the alloted 23 days of the 23rd spring allows for excellent carnage scenes. And his disgusting regenerations are both graphic and hidden enough to get your imagination in gear.

The twins are capable characters who manage not to annoy the hell out of me, and both Philips and Long have good 'Holy shit' faces!

The death scenes are gross and there's a fair few bits of dark screened tension scenes with a good jump here or there. This film has 'future classic' written all over it. It makes "I Know What You Did Last Summer" look like "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" in the world of 90s and early 00s teeny horror. The major flaw in this film? Showing too much! Why did they do it?

Now, I'm a prosthetics and props lover. And I love monster movie costumes. I'm the kind of person who puts pictures up of famous classic monsters in my livingroom and collects books on the subject. Yes, I truly am that sad! But showing the monster stopped him being so damn creepy and just made him look like a cross between Predator's little cousin and the Fear Demon from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' (but not so tiny).

If you've ever watched "The Midnight Meat Train" you may feel that some direct comparisons can be made between both this film and that one. A really disappointing few scenes where they over-share can ruin an otherwise excellent monster movie. Unless the film happens to be "The Wolfman" (1941), "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" or a "Hellraiser" kind of film.

Some effort is made to claw back the creepiness with the end scenes though, and for some part it does succeed.

Much, much better than the second film which just flat out forgot how to use mystique to its advantage. Worth 87 minutes of your time.

I hear "Jeepers Creepers 3" is on its way sometime next year. Can't say I'm too excited, but I'm always up for a sequel to a film I like, even if it promises more cheese than a readymeal macaroni!

[Picture: United Artists]