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Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Written and Directed by Victor Salva
The movie starred Justin Long as Darry Jenner and Gina Philips as Trish, his sister. The reason for Salva making the leads siblings being to eliminate the possibility of any sexual tension and to focus on solely dodging the Creeper. Which I thought worked greatly in favor for the film. Trisha drives home for Spring Break with her brother as they indulge in a game of figuring out licence plates for vehicles since it was her idea to take the long way home. Racing past a mobile home with an elder couple with the licence plate “6E 4EVR,” (sexy forever) which soon turned to reveal a truck approaching rather fast, honking and driving up almost on top of the car. A small high intense moment occurs as the truck passes to show the licence “BEATNGU.” More than startled the two press on as Trish is reminded of their friends who had disappeared on that same highway and how they had never found either of their heads. Continuing down the highway the two eventually come across the truck on the side of the road at an old church. Dropping something down a pipe, wrapped in a sheet with red stains on it, the Creeper (Jonathan Breck) takes notice and stares at them in return. Soon followed by him getting back into his truck and having a new target, racing towards the two and running them off the road just as their car gives out.
Getting the car back up again, Darry devises a master plan on being “humane” and going back to look into the pipe to make sure that what or who he had seen didn’t need any help. Sealing the deal by asking “what if it had been you?” to which she replies that she refused to get out of the car and grudgingly accepts. The house they return to is surrounded by Crows as Darry claims he was only going to look inside. Calling down the pipe and hearing a voice as his curiosity takes over. He has his sister hold his feet while he hangs down and drops him as we get a shot of Darry free-falling, trapped with no foreseeable way out. He finds the thing that called to him as a hand reaches out of the bag asking for help. Demanding his sister go and find help but to return if seeing that “thing” near.
Exploring the house of horrors down below, Darry finds the walls adorned with bodies as though they were decoration. Night falls as he comes across his friends having talked about earlier with his sister. Up above getting a scare *as she waited until she thought she saw him coming* finding it just to be a similar looking vehicle. Once again scared by her brother who seemed to be catatonic after somehow finding a way out. The two stop at a diner to call the police as they see the truck sprint past them. While inside, the pay phone rings as they hear Jezelle, (Patricia Belcher) a psychic who gets a vision of them both surrounded by cats. Grabbing the phone from his sister Jezelle explains how this demon or devil wouldn’t stop hunting them after having their scent. That if he was to hear the song Jeepers Creepers (Paul Whiteman and his Swing Wing) that meant to run like hell. Speaking to the Police who are admittedly doubtful but hearing some of the diners who witness the Creeper outside, rifling through the car and smelling handfuls of the laundry.
Turning through the stations on the radio Darry hears something awfully familiar, rushing go back to what he thought he had heard. Shouting over the music about how that had been the song he was warned of. A front shot of the front seat shows the distance and how the Creeper had caught up with the police, standing atop their car. Pulling an officer through the window and the other through the roof, he cuts the head and throws it so that it land on the kin’s windshield. Stopping to approach the vehicle, Trish sees the head and Creeper inside the cop car as they retreat back to the car. The Creeper gets out as he hums the tune (because that’s not creepy at all) and retrieves the head from the street. What the two witness next was so gross…lets just say he removes a part from the head in an unsettling manner. They momentarily escape and find a trailer where Trish demands to stop with no other phone otherwise in sight. Coming in contact with The Cat Lady (Eileen Brennan) for a phone, the lights go out as the hissing cats encompass’ their ears, pulling a shotgun on her scarecrow who seems to have changed. Receiving the wrong end of that bargain, Darry and Trish get their first real glimpse of what has been after them and return to the car, leading to a game of chicken.
The two run him over though it seems his impressive wing span is no match for their tires. Arriving at the police station to call their mother as Darry notices the wall of missing persons seeming alarmingly high for such a small town. Jezelle bursts through the doors of the station in dire need of finding the pair and warns them of what had yet to come. Sitting down with Darry to explain how every 23 years for 23 days this, creature, got to eat. Lungs so it can breathe, eyes so it could see…whatever it ate becoming apart of it. Dressing like a man and searching for whatever his scent picked up on that called to him to obtain it. When the power goes out, and emergency check happens as the officers discover the Creep feasting while hovering over a body as though a starved vulture. (If you pause the film or focus when he shines the light on his back you can see the zipper; tsk) Chaos breaks out as all officers head towards the creature and Jezelle attempts to get the two out of the station.
Knowing all along who the demon was after it seemed there was nothing that could be done to stop Jezelle’s visions. As the two try and find a way out, (upstairs) a double-sided glass leads to a rather nice POV scene before the end. There is a somewhat emotional scene between the two siblings as what was foreseen indeed occurs leaving us with a last scream and song in the background with a lasting image.
Final Thoughts: I do particularly like the ending though I vaguely spoke of it. I thought it was a great way to end a Horror movie and loved the music that went along with it. Random fact: Long played the Creeper at the end scene as a just cause type of thing, for the most part. Can’t actually say why that makes sense unless you’ve seen it and know. The movie is definitely better seen in the dark (though they mostly are) because a good portion of the film has such dark lighting. Long did such a great job; this poor guy is the only one that had seen what the creature was capable of up. The Creeper being so, well…creepy for lack of a better term. The stare he had, his skin and way he went about eating his victims. Though it was just as scary from a distance. When they pass by originally and they just stare at each other;. a chill ran down my spine from just how his shadowed figure appeared. I wasn’t as fond of Philips. She was fine otherwise, I just couldn’t see her naturally progressing with what her character ended as. I am almost sure that even with the 3rd installment looming that this first one will remain the best of the series. It didn’t really show too much of the creature which let the tension build. There also wasn’t too many actors all over the place so you have just these two to focus on. Altogether not a bad “monster” to add to the genre.