My History With the Film:
I remember Jeeper Creepers coming out in 2001, but it just never appealed to me. From the trailers that I saw it looked like it was full of CGI and that didn’t interest me any. I remember it renting well at Blockbuster, but I that still didn’t change my mind about watching it. It wasn’t until 2018 that I finally sat down and watched the first film and I was both surprised and disappointed with what I saw.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A brother and sister duo encounter a people eating demon while traveling through a rural town.
What I Liked About It:
-The first twenty minutes of this film are flat out amazing. There is a believability factor in dealing with two siblings on this long trip home that is very relatable. The out of control truck and the dumping of the bodies create a nightmare situation that seems like it could happen to anyone. In fact, someone has linked together how these opening scenes re-create an episode of Unsolved Mysteries that actually happened.
-The design of The Creeper is something to truly admire. It’s half man/half demon and I absolutely love the way it looks. I was not as impressed with how it moved.
-I loved the two leads and I thought Justin Long and Gina Phillips did an incredible job convincing us they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Also, kudos to the writers for not going with the easy romantic pairing and instead allowing us to experience a different type of relationship in a horror movie.
-The car was an excellent character in this film and felt unique. It was a classic, but run down, and even with a sock holding the trunk closed it still felt special.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-After that first fifteen or twenty minutes, our main characters start making such stupid decisions that it’s hard to ignore. My suspension of disbelief is just not that strong. For example: ::SPOILERS:: going back to the location where you think bodies are being dumped and then hanging out and leaving your car in full view of where the psycho you just saw dumping bodies can easily find you.
-I thought the church setting was incredible and was sad to see us move on so quickly. The small town vibe worked well at the diner, but then the setting continued to change every fifteen minutes and what I loved about the beginning of the movie was replaced with less inspiring set design.
-I think between the set changes and the reincarnation of The Creeper, I felt this movie lost it’s steam by the second half. It was a chore to get through and what started off so promising ended in disappointment.
-The Creeper had a single line of dialogue, but it was ultimately cut from the film.
-Writer/Director Victor Salva intentionally wrote the main characters as brother and sister to avoid any sexual tension and allow for them to focus on escaping The Creeper.
-Like many horror films, the actors/actresses were not allowed to see The Creeper before hand so the filmmaker could get a true response. Same thing went with the old truck from the opening scene.
-The Creeper’s truck is a 1941 Chevrolet Heavy-Duty COE (Cab Over Engine).
-The film was shot in Dunnellon, Florida. At nighttime the insects were so loud that the filmmakers had to fire a gun in order to silence the bugs long enough to get a take.
When I first started Jeepers Creepers I thought the film was going to go into my top twenty favorite horror films. By the time it ended, I was ready for it to be over and realized that it was not nearly as impressive as I thought it would be. The movie does a great job at building some tension and has some truly shocking moments, but despite having a runtime of ninety minutes it felt twenty minutes too long.
Jeepers Creepers is a three out of five for me and one that I’d watch the beginning of and then turn it off.