Movie File (Starburst Reviews) Movie Reviews by Alan Jones
From Starburst's monthly Reviews section
Selected from Starburst #277

Selected this month:
Alan Jones reviews Jeepers Creepers

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Extra: Don't look now - it's the stars and director of JEEPERS CREEPERS

Starring Gina Phillips, Justin Long, Eileen Brennan,
Patricia Belcher & Jon Beshara.
• 90 mins, Cert R/15.
• Released America: 31 August, Britain: October TBC

Tunnel vision in Jeepers Creepers

"Jeepers Creepers finds Salva cleverly revitalizing the slasher scenario"

Producers, Tom Luse & Barry Opper. Director, Victor Salva. Music, Bennett Salvay. Creature FX, Brian Penikas.

Prepare for a fresh scare with director Victor Salva's wonderfully perverse and thoroughly riveting horror oddity - the first decent stab at minting a full-blooded genre maniac for the new millennium. Sick, shocking and sensational, Jeepers Creepers finds Salva cleverly revitalizing the slasher scenario. Entirely gripping, from its Duel-style opening to its downbeat Curse of the Demon ending, this spectacular chiller will satisfy every horror addict who's had their appetite whetted by Ginger Snaps and is hungry for more in the same vein.

On a routine road trip home for Spring Break, brother and sister Darry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Philips) are menaced by a speeding van, whose driver they see throwing two dead bodies down a pipe beside an old abandoned church. Misguided curiosity leads them to investigate, and when Darry falls down the air shaft he stumbles into a charnel house of a church basement, covered from floor to ceiling with preserved, mutilated bodies. Shocked, Darry forces his scared sister into driving to a diner and calling the cops. And there they receive a mysterious phone call from psychic Patricia Belcher (Jezelle Gay Hartman) describing what he's just seen and telling them to beware every time they hear the old song Jeepers Creepers.

The murderer is a winged demon out of local folklore, known as the Creeper (Jonathan Breck), who terrorizes the vicinity for 23 days every 23rd spring. It sniffs out the body part it wants the most from each victim and will not rest until it gets its fleshy prize. But what sweetmeat does the Creeper now want from Darry or Trish? Which piece of its own flesh is the creature desperate to replace in order to continue its savage slaughter? The answer to these macabre questions involves a visit to a mad cat lady (Eileen Brennan), a blood-spattered massacre in a police station, a thrilling yet poignant showdown, and a memorably gruesome punchline.

Suspenseful from the off, and bolstered by tremendously effective and believable performances from the two leads, Salva's superbly orchestrated body-snatching saga is evocatively atmospheric and relentlessly bleak. Genuinely creepy -Darry's torch matter-of-factly picks out the nude human fresco in the 'House of Pain' - truly disturbing (the Creeper sniffs the unknowing Trish through a two-way mirror), and singularly graphic - the ferocious fiend kisses a severed head to extract the tongue - Jeepers Creepers is a great variation on the Psycho-from-Hell formula.

The only real misstep comes in the heavy-handed overuse of the song title clue. However, that can be forgiven when Starburst Rating: 5/5everything else in this successful blend of upended cliché and ghoulish fright works so well. A sequel please, and fast!

Reviews © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction