I want to make the claim that 2001 was a good year for horror movies with Thirteen Ghosts, Jeepers Creepers, The Others, From Hell, Jason X and Elvira’s Haunted Hills all being released that year. Unfortunately 2001 also brought us Hannibal, Session 9, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Wishmaster 3, so 2001 was reduced to just a year for them. Jeepers Creepers was a very big movie that year and everyone I knew had seen it. We talked about in class, compared the Creeper against other horror Icon like Jason, Freddy and Chucky. But I hadn’t seen again since, so when I came across it again, I decided to give it another watch and I am glad to say. It still holds up.
Darius “Darry” Jenner (Justin Long) and his sister Patrica “Trish” (Gina Philips) are travelling back home from college on back country roads… for reasons. When they are chased by a large rusty work truck, which threatens to drive them off the road before speeding around and seemingly leave them behind. After the pair calm down Darry recalls the license plate BEATNGU (beating you or be eating you depending on how you read it). A short time later they pass a boarded up old church and witness the driver (from here on out the Creeper (Jonathan Breck)) throwing a body wrapped in a sheet down a large pipe, but the Creeper also notices them. He once again chases them, but is this time successful on running them off the road. After regaining their composure Darry convinces Trish to go back and confirm what they saw and while reluctant she eventually agrees. Unable to see down the pipe Darry crawls in having Trish hold his feet and ends up getting dropped. Down below he finds the Creepers lair with bodies preserved and mounted to the walls, stitched together in a grotesque display. After making his way out off-screen through the church, Trish and Davy make a run for town to get the police. In town at a small diner they manage to contact the police and while waiting for their arrival Darry receives a call on a pay phone, from a local psychic Jezelle Hartman (Patricia Belcher), who warns them of the danger they’re in. Immediately after Darry is told of a man breaking into his car and smelling his dirty clothes. After leaving diner with a police escort the Creeper attacks, killing both cops escorting them. Fleeing once again Darry and Trish comes to the home of an old cat lady and is once again attacked by the Creeper. While fleeing Trish manages to run him over and make their way to the police station. At the station they meet Jezelle, who continues to warn them of the danger when the Creeper arrives badly wound and in need of new parts…
I really like Justin Long and Gina Philips in this movie, which is real fortunate as they are the core characters of the film. Both characters are highly like-able and repeatable due to them behaving in a more or less real fashion. The brother/sister relationship does come off as a bit forced, but I understand the reasoning behind that decision. To remove any romantic issues to focus more heavily on the Creeper. Which really works, how many horror movies are about a young couple and shit goes sideways? But I love their reactions which come off as genuine and often they are as they were kept in the dark about key elements of the movie until they were shooting and it turns out great.
I also really like the Creeper character as a movie monster. While I will also be in Vorhees corner, I can still say the Creeper is one of my top monster picks. Jonathan Breck does an outstanding job. With no speaking lines, a ton of prosthetics and contacts that made him blind when he wore them, he really knocked it out of the park. I can only imagine the challenge of having to act, let alone be terrifying in that situation.
Final thoughts, still good and still worth the watch. While it offers little in anything new to the genre, Jeepers Creepers is a very good monster movie. With its small, well acted cast and a tight script, it’s actually managed age very gracefully. The atmosphere is dark and oppressive, matched well with the music. With a predictable, but still satisfying ending, so I give Jeepers Creepers 8/10.