Title: Jeepers Creepers
Dir.: Victor Salva
Producer(s): Tom Luse, Barry Opper, Francis Ford Coppola (executive prod.)
Writer(s): Victor Salva
Company: American Zoetrope
Starring: Justin Long, Gina Philips, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher and Eileen Brennan
I hesitated a while doing this post for various reasons… there’s a big one that we all know about and I am going to disclaimer this post, just like how I did for both Grindhouse films (Planet Terror, Death Proof).
This post and analyzing will not mention any of the controversy around director Victor Salva. If you don’t know anything about this, either look it up yourself or don’t because the accusations/convictions are quite disturbing. We’ll discuss Jeepers Creepers as a film in its entirety and, yeah, let’s see how far it’ll go.
I’ve seen Jeepers Creepers many times. It’s shown on tv many times. I also own both films (a sequel that will also be discussed in due time) on vhs, as a part of my vhs collection.
The story of Jeepers Creepers is quite simple: twin siblings (Long and Philips) are road tripping when they encounter a “creature” who is hell bent on chasing after them. There’s more to it than that but if you had to tell someone in short terms what it is about, you can go that route. The deeper tale is that said creature is after ONE of the siblings and will do whatever it takes to get them. The tale is also partially inspired by an episode of Unsolved Mysteries (an older couple witnesses someone carrying “blood soaked” fabric, etc in a wooded area when driving by).
The film itself is fun to watch. I mean, I love the evolution of the siblings relationship throughout the film; it’s teasing, playful to full on genuine concern and wanting to keep each other safe. The ever growing tension and pace is felt throughout it as well. You don’t know what’s going to happen or when the creature is going to pop up out of nowhere.
The creature (Breck) is very… interesting to see on screen. I’ve never seen anything like it since Creature from the Black Lagoon but more human features, more demonic, there’s a supernatural-like presence around it. He’s big and tall, scary, he has wings, and he can drive a truck.
The cinematography is interesting too and not in a bad way. It reminds me of Wolf Creek or The Devil’s Rejects where it looks rough and gritty but on purpose. This isn’t glamour or softened with a filter to create a glow. When the characters are confronted, when the environment switches from day to night, a field and dusty road to a small town, it looks like there’s a cooler tone filter throughout.
An absolute favorite part is (spoilers ahead) actually when we get to the end of the film and we see the “creature” working. And he’s working on assimilating his latest victim into him and that final shot of the creature looking into the camera, through Darry’s (Long) eyes. It’s an iconic moment, a memorable moment, it told us everything we needed to know and conclude about what type of creature it really is and what it wants. It clearly wanted Darry but only his eyes. I shiver thinking about that.
It didn’t want Trish and she was a tough cookie but Darry was more sensitive, more open and readily available to believe. It made him an open and willing… prey.
There is a sequel, Jeepers Creepers II and also a third film which is the return of Philips in her role as Trish.
If you look beyond the controversy behind Salva, this is a well made horror film of the early 2000s. It’s original, not a remake or a “reboot” but those weren’t common. It created another horror icon and lore and I predict that one day the Creeper will end up in a Mortal Kombat game. I can already foresee some fatalities… and finishes. I like Mortal Kombat, let me live in my horror icon fantasy!
The Creeper wins!