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Jeepers Creepers

Giving new meaning to the term ''road kill,'' a demonic creature relentlessly hunts down a brother and sister who unfortunately chance to drive through his woodsy 'hood on the way home for spring break.


Bickering sibs Trish (Gina Phillips) and Darry (Justin Long), make the regrettable mistake of choosing the scenic route through the country on their drive home. When they pass an abandoned church, Darry catches sight of someone, or something, throwing what looks like a bloody bag down a drainpipe. In true horror flick style, the kids backtrack to check it out (and they're smart enough to attend college?) when instead they should be hitting the fast track outta there. Then again, we wouldn't have a movie if they didn't, so naturally they investigate and make some nasty discoveries in that thar church that the stranger would rather they not know about. What ensues is a terrifying chase across backwoods country where the residents are unhelpful, the police are helpless and the kids just need a helping hand. In steps a psychic (Patricia Belcher), who enlightens them on what exactly the monster, whom the psychic calls the Creeper, is after--it wants something from one of them, but what, and from whom?


Despite a few clunky lines here and there, Phillips and Long, who must carry this movie and are in nearly every scene, completely inhabit their characters. Despite their constant arguing (or because of it), there's a clear brother/sister bond between the two that shows up later when they must pull together to survive. Phillips is great as the bitchy chick with no patience for anyone standing in her way. Long is likeably awkward as the young, adventurous, kinda dorky kid who gets the two into a lot of trouble despite his best intentions. As the Creeper, Jonathan Breck is one of the most evil and disgusting villains to show up for a long time (watch as he sniffs his victims as if they were a cut of prime beef just off the grill). Belcher is perfectly cast as the doubted psychic whose ineffectual attempts to help only frustrate matters before they come to a head.


Victor Salva (Rites of Passage, Powder) brings a taut, anxious style to this edgy little film (which in fact was executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola). More reminiscent of a '70s-'80s-type horror flick like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Friday the 13th than a modern-day Scream, Jeepers takes itself seriously--but not so seriously that it doesn't have a few very black moments of humor for those paying close attention. Thanks to the movie's way of suddenly startling the bejesus out of you and building up to climactic moments, you'll quickly find yourself on the edge of your seat--and staying there. Fans of horror films will love Jeepers' old-school style, but some may find it's too stressful and unpleasant to sit through (especially by the time the shocking end rolls around). The Creeper's an ugly villain, to be sure, but his costume is a little obviously done.

Bottom Line:

The Creeper can stomach it…but can you?