JEEPERS CREEPERS (REVIEW)
Dir. Victor Silva
Reviewer. Dan Cook
While it may fall victim to many of the clichés of the 90’s post-modern slasher movie, JEEPERS CREEPERS nonetheless manages to stand out amongst its mediocre brethren thanks to some intense set pieces, a terrific opening act, a memorable monster and two brilliant central performances. Directed by Victor Salva (whose past will not be discussed in this review) the film focuses on a brother and sister duo, played by Justin long and Gina Phillips, whose long road trip back from college takes a deadly turn when they unwittingly catch the attention of a vicious and very hungry organ-harvesting demon.
Upon its release, ‘Jeepers Creepers’ was met with very mixed reviews but I think that there is much to admire and enjoy here. For one, it boasts one of the best portrayals of siblings I have seen in a mainstream horror and it is the strength of the on-screen chemistry between Long and Phillips as well as some very sharp dialogue that makes the movie so enjoyable. The first 20 minutes in particular, which showcase a fabulously directed and relentlessly nail-biting highway chase comparable to that of Spielberg’s DUEL, sees both Long and Phillips at their very best with their comradery as brother and sister only getting more credible as the picture progresses.
Yes, the movie has a healthy dose of gore and the terrifying villain (portrayed by Jonathan Breck) named The Creeper has rightly become a modern horror icon thanks to his brutal methods of dispatch as well as a very threatening design in both makeup and CGI forms. However, it is the work of Long and Phillips that really stand out here and both should be congratulated for doing such a good job of making the often ridiculous machinations of the story so believable and compelling. By no means a classic but certainly one of the better movies to follow in SCREAM's bloody wake, JEEPERS CREEPERS is a tense, surprising and sometimes darkly funny romp that should definitely get under the skin of less-hardened horror films.