Jeepers Creepers

Jeepers Creepers


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

You are more vulnerable in the open.

Trish (Gina Philips) says, "No one ever uses this road."

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She's in brother Darry's (Justin Long) clapped-out car and they're driving home from college for the spring break. Right on cue, there's a dirty brown truck in the rearview, gaining on them fast.

Teen terror has been slashed to ridicule of late. What more can be done to raise the neck hairs? Writer/director Victor Salva takes one step back and re-evaluates the symptoms of adrenalin rush. If it's not the certainty of violent death, it's fear of the unknown. But what is not known to a youth culture breast-fed on Halloween, Elm Street, Friday 13th and Scream?

The imagination feeds off serial killer obscenity. This is an ugly world and yet strangely fascinating. The Dracula myth contains symbols of beauty that conflict with the menace of the bloodsucker.

Salva contrasts the peaceful serenity of the countryside with scenes so abhorrent Darry's mind freezes. Also, there is a hint of the supernatural about the man in the dirty brown truck. What is he doing in the wood off the road at the back of an abandoned church, where ravens congregate? Darry insists on finding out. Trish, being a girl, is more sensible.

The relationship between these two works beautifully. Trish seems permanently pissed off with her brother and Darry knows only too well how to push her buttons. Philips avoids the pretty girl victim look in favour of something far less flirtatious, while the script plays games with the banter of sibling rivalries.

There are shades of Near Dark, Mimic and Assault On Precinct 13, as the plot moves from a recognisable threat to a place beyond experience. It is to Salva's great credit that he retains credulity in the face of impossible fear. Nothing like this could ever happen and yet it does and you will not forget.

Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2001
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Jeepers Creepers packshot
A brother and sister investigate suspicious goings-on at isolated church miles from anywhere.
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Director: Victor Salva

Writer: Victor Salva

Starring: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Eileen Brennan, Patricia Belcher, Brandon Smith

Year: 2001

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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