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"What’s eating you?"

Every horror movie needs a monster, and the creature in Jeepers Creepers was so unique, and presented in such a different light, that it spawned sequels just on the strength of its beast. And what's best is that, at its core, Jeepers Creepers is one, terrible story of people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It all starts with a trip back home from college. During a license plate game our main characters almost get into a wreck with a huge truck. Later down the road they see the truck pulled off the road at an abandoned looking home with the driver dumping what look like bodies down an abandoned well. Rather than calling the police our characters choose to investigate, finding a charnel house of corpses that have been nailed to the walls and torn open on improvised operating tables. From that point they can run, but they can't hide.

While the driver knows what's out there, the kids don't. The thing that looks like a ratty scarecrow is something else entirely. Ancient and evil, this creature can't be reasoned with, it can't be killed and it can't be stopped. One way or another it will take one of our leads back to its lair, where it will extract what it needs.

On the surface Jeepers Creepers looks like just another slasher movie, but it is really anything but. There is no pretending that the monster was ever human, though the film tantalizes watchers with just what it really is. That's the real success as a horror film; you want to know what it is, even though you're scared to know. You never get more than a glimpse, and that makes the eye work doubly hard to figure out just what it's really looking at. And that can lead to a unique fear all its own.

The first Jeepers Creepers is a solid combination of all the things that make a Saturday night horror movie. It has atmosphere, solid performances from the cast, and it has a monster that can't be defeated no matter how fast, clever or wise any individual character in the cast happens to be. It's all a matter of how long they can stay one step ahead of the wrecking ball, rather than whether or not they can make it out alive. That feeling, that fatalism, is what makes the audience wonder if they're being put on, or if there is some way they can really get out of this alive.

R
| 2001 | 1 hr 31 min | 6.1/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Victor Salva
Language
English
Jeepers Creepers
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