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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.18%
Worth A Look: 21.82%
Just Average29.55%
Pretty Crappy: 11.36%
Sucks: 24.09%

10 reviews, 160 user ratings

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Jeepers Creepers
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by Jack Sommersby

"Elicits More in the Way of Yawns than Goosebumps."
1 stars

It's got a doozy of a final shot; unfortunately, everything leading up to it is atrocious.

Atrociously acted, written and directed, Jeepers Creepers stands as a shameful reminder that none of us are safe from a bad horror film: if it doesn't get you in the form of a direct-to-video rental, than it can just as easily blindside you in the form of a first-run theatrical release adorned with dubious advanced critical praise. While not having been led astray by all the positive blurbs from Fangoria-like publications, I'll freely admit to being swayed somewhat by best-selling author Clive Barker's ringing endorsement of it. The sad and disappointing news, however, is this: Jeepers Creepers is, quite simply, the pits.

First off, you know it's not a good sign when the first ten minutes of a horror film (which should be eliciting a sense of menace to be sustained and relied upon later) are excruciatingly banal. A brother and sister, Derry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Phillips), returning home from college for the holidays are driving down one of those sparsely traveled back roads bickering and one-upping each another in a typical nimwit manner. Instead of snappy, the dialogue is pure kitty litter, and the two teens are a pretty grating duo. Usually, they'd be the first victims to get offed, but I guess their serving as the protagonists is the filmmaker's idea of originality. Anyway, a revved-up, sinister-looking van charges up behind them and threatens to run them off the road. But the unseen loony-toon of a driver apparently loses interest, and drives on. A little while later, though, the teens spy someone dumping a wrapped-up, blood-soaked body down a huge pipe on the property of a boarded-up church. Again, the van takes off after them, but Derry drives off into a field, and, once again, the driver loses interest.

Up until now, Jeepers Creepers, while sub-par in its execution, still isn't a total loss, because we're a little intrigued to see where all this is going. But it doesn't take long for whopping implausibility to seep into the equation. Does Derry drive to the nearest town to see or call the cops? Nope. For this is Movieland, folks, where, for the most part, and in this genre in particular, characters wind up abiding by the illogical rather than the logical so their lives can continue to be put in jeopardy. Contemplating that the body they saw might not be dead, Derry elects to drive them back up to the church and check out that pipe. What?! They have no weapons, and no way of knowing when that van is going to be pulling back up. I don't ask for three-dimensional characters and Einstein-like smarts in a film such as this, but, please, we do need to have a stake in the protagonists to the point where, acting as our eyes and ears, what they're doing is even remotely plausible. I don't have to like 'em; but I do need to empathize with at least one with an acceptable IQ quotient.

Okay, even though the pipe is dark and dank, Derry has Trish lower him into it for a better luck, yet things go awry when rats appear, he panics, and she loses her grip, plummeting him to the depths below. Derry locates the dumped body -- a young man who's still alive and whose abdomen section has recently been stitched up. But he dies shortly thereafter, and Derry discovers a horde of long-dead but perfectly preserved corpses. He and Trish get the hell out of Dodge and into the nearest town, where they hole up inside a diner to call the police. Predictably, the hick cops initially resist Derry's story, and, even more predictably, the villain makes itself known, doggedly pursuing the teens and killing off any innocents who happen to get in the way.

I'd be happy to report the writer/director responsible for this, Victor Salva, managed to go down this well-worn route with style and panache and inventive staging. Not so. It's easy to see what he intended: an eerie Gothic build-up insinuating the majority of the terror, so when the physicality of violence is displayed later on it would have some organic clarity. But due to the schlocky characters and moronic plot turns, Salva has already distanced us from the goings-on up to the midway mark; from then, since we're not properly engaged, and since the story follows an even lamer route, everything plays out in too perfunctory a manner. It's not enough that the monster is unveiled too early on, but when its gruesomeness is put on full display, we're neither shocked nor jazzed-up because, for the upteenth time, here is another one of those seemingly unstoppable monstrosities that, through bullets and car run-downs and the like, cannot be killed off. Jeepers Creepers puts on the high-minded pretense that it's something special, when in fact all it winds up doing is trotting out a generic Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger that can fly and, as Trish grudgingly puts it "can leap tall buildings in a single bound". (Just once, I'd love to see one of these things done in by a single gunshot between the eyes.)

Salva, responsible for 1995's over-obvious Powder (with Jeff Goldblum) and the dandy 1997 road thriller Nature of the Beast (with Lance Henriksen), doesn't seem to have the slightest inkling of how to adequately build up and sustain suspense here. Instead of effectively tightening the noose where need be and frying our nerves, Salva has employed too flabby a film style here, having the badly shaped, sluggish scenes decrease rather than heighten the tension. Clearly, Salva has tried to envelop his audience with a doom-laden atmospheric texture of dread, which is commendable in an age where uncouth frenetic cutting induces more in the way of headaches than goose bumps, but he lacks the necessary precision and control to carry this noble quest out. The scenes go on for much too long, allowing us to practically see the chalk marks the director isn't hitting, with the editing lagging behind a crucial second or two in the scene transitions, which dissipates rather than percolates the tension. Sitting through Jeepers Creepers can be a really restless experience because you seem to have a much clearer idea than Salva of how the film should be working -- instead of gasping from terror, you're likely to be yawning from all the second-guessing going on in your head.

What really chaps my hide in regard to all the great reviews Slava received from nationwide critics is just how unfounded all of it is. I read that not only is the film's atmosphere creepy, which it most definitely isn't but that he's been able to circumvent convention by going at things in a totally original manner, which is simply ludicrous. There are two or three instances of the infamous False Scare on display here, where someone or something jumps out of a corner or appears suddenly to get a temporary rise out of the heroes (and us) for the sake of a cheap thrill. Salva employs selective reasoning to move the story along whereas the creature can apparently fly and land on a speeding police car yet can't seem to nab the heroes trying to get start up their car from a mere twenty feet away. And, hey, if this thing is so damn indestructible, where bullets have as much effect on it as Odor Eaters would on Al Bundy's feet, then why doesn't it just grab the heroes from any number of locations at any given time? (It also doesn't help that, compared to the ghastly heroes, I found myself working up more sympathy for the creature in its understandable desire to sustain its life by woofing down the body parts of humans, which just cannot be what Slava intended.)

Salva not only refuses to play along with his own story guidelines but is also whoppingly ineffectual when it comes to basic convention. For instance, when we see a cop's head severed by the creature on top of his car, the follow-up sequence is that of Trish, who was in the car in front, peering around the wreckage of the vehicle, with the suspense music accompanying her. Naturally, we assume the director is pumping us up over her possibly encountering the creature, so we're brought up more than a bit short when the intended effect was simply for her to discover the head, which, of course, we were already wise to. When a psychic confronts the heroes about the creature's background and purpose, it's unaffecting mumbo-jumbo that doesn't enhance any of the supposed mystery behind it. Apparently, the creature offed two of the heroes' friends from a year back, so we're primed for some sort of nerve-jangling connection, and there isn't one. Furthermore, though the creature is neat-looking, one wonders, with its imposing body structure and sharp talons and teeth, why it needs a battle axe to inflict some of its damage, aside from the feeling of dismay that the producers, sensing a possible franchise in the works here, thought it would look good in the publicity shots?

What Jeepers Creepers ultimately comes down to is whether or not it dishes out the promised goods, which I can aver until I'm blue in the face (or bruised in my typing fingers) that it unfortunately doesn't. The limited number of audience members I remember seeing this with didn't seem to be getting into it on any more a responsive level than I -- trips to the rest rooms and concession stand were plentiful -- and, rather than concentrating on what you've paid perfectly good money to see, you wind up ticking off numerous past horror films (some superior, some not) that Slava has ripped off and failed to make good on. The overwhelming critical praise thus far for Jeepers Creepers is something else altogether -- I can't make hide or hair of any of it! When Clive Barker asserts that it's brilliant and the best horror film to come along in several years, I have to assume that he's championing the fact that it's not as nauseating and disreputable as others of its ilk from the '90s, and completely ignoring the stone-cold fact that it hasn't a single good workmanlike sequence to its credit. The final shot is certainly a doozy -- it hints at a more imaginatively warped sensibility than what's direly preceded it -- but disheartening for it none-too-subtly hints at the sequel we're likely to get if more people are duped into seeking this stinker out and praising it simply because it exists, is tolerable enough to sit through, and is a reminder of how good horror films of the '80s were even if it never even remotely comes close to achieving that unmistakable aura of the "joy of making cinema."

Gag me with a spoon, please.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5511&reviewer=327
originally posted: 01/11/03 11:27:45
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 ScreamFest L.A. Horror Festival. For more in the 2004 ScreamFest L.A. series, click here.

User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell trash made by a pervert who should die 1 stars
3/31/16 Aj wales Great at start. Last third boring and drags out what very little action it had. 3 stars
10/23/13 Anna Johnston 2 stars
1/22/11 chaotik tom Its an alien? O_O wtf? the only good thing was the truck. 3 stars
8/20/07 Mark Louis Baumgart A great new monster in a good old school horror/suspense movie w/cute leads who can act. 4 stars
4/25/07 David Risser Thrilling and suspensful but I wouldn't care to see it again. 3 stars
3/27/07 Stanley Thai Want a thrilling action film? Well, here you go. 4 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies Quite underrated, some very scary scenes 4 stars
8/16/06 ES Asylum Home Entertainment put this out right? 1 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist A Sh*tty, too human-like monster,campy; obviously a lame attempt at a horror cult classic. 1 stars
8/01/06 dan scary,strange,a real horror 5 stars
7/26/06 Agent Sands It does what horror movies were designed to do. 4 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley It has to be said again: terrific first half, sucky second half... 3 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman not bad not bad at all 3 stars
12/13/05 Steven Lewis Its good. It's suspenseful and gory. 4 stars
11/25/05 Vince Nothing to write home about... 3 stars
10/26/05 chris overall a reasonable film if your stuck in on a rainy day watch it!! 4 stars
10/21/05 Tina I liked it, thought it was better than most out there now. 4 stars
10/21/05 cypress Worth the time for a true horror fan, some good parts, could have been better 3 stars
10/20/05 PAG Pretty good. First 30 minutes are excellent. 4 stars
8/11/05 ES Total, abyssmal garbage = a poster and the hope of a good movie don't make it so 1 stars
7/17/05 Brandy Harrington GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGay! 1 stars
7/02/05 Eddie Dumb movie bad story 2 stars
6/17/05 Manu Ginobli Shitty movie made by a no-talent pervert. 1 stars
4/30/05 alice I LO 4 stars
3/22/05 indrid cold Worth watching, which is more than you can say for most horror movies. 3 stars
3/14/05 J. Warner A for-the-most-part effective horror film with it's ending making it a little refreshing. 4 stars
1/12/05 SAKURAZUKAMORI The plot is old, the characters flat and uninteresting. The gore wasn't all that gorey. 1 stars
1/09/05 Brett This movie was so boring and just plain awful! 1 stars
11/17/04 chris waste of time 1 stars
11/15/04 Dunce Lots of set-up, no satifying payoff. Cool truck. Why do people like this so much? 2 stars
10/27/04 Dana Sage Entrertaining 4 stars
8/31/04 Andy Edge FUCKIN' SHIT 1 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G its was ok, sucks the director likes to fuck children in real life 3 stars
5/25/04 Craig Idiotic. All action the result of wussy boy freaking out and falling down a pipe. 1 stars
5/19/04 kektex I think this is the only time I have fallen asleep inside a cinema...what a steaming pile.. 1 stars
4/17/04 American Slasher Goddess Atmospheric and supenseful, but the ending is anti-climatic. 4 stars
4/11/04 valerie hart its a gory film but nithing special definetly not the scariest this year!!!! 4 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Banal and inane cheezy movie by a pedophile (true) that ends up in a bad punchline. 1 stars
1/31/04 britney gross i hate this movie its the worst horror film i ever saw 1 stars
1/13/04 Littlepurch Not bad, first half was good, but in the end you just feel it was a bit pointless. 3 stars
1/06/04 George NICE I LIKE IT 5 stars
12/26/03 Sara Very good movie. 5 stars
12/19/03 ageeting the beginning was stupid and the end was the worst. the whole thing was shit 1 stars
12/12/03 darkofnight Horrendously directed and scripted. Performances aren't bad though. 1 stars
11/24/03 Thiago A good movie, but the first half is much better than the last one. 4 stars
11/03/03 American Slasher Goddess Enticing and scary, but the ending is anti-climatic. 4 stars
10/07/03 Two-G The Movie was good until you found out the it was a like-bird thing, Ending Sucks. Eh it ok 3 stars
9/17/03 Samuel Justus It was a good story up until i found out it was about A BIG MONSTER WITH WINGS!!!! 2 stars
9/17/03 Ashley Corpening I generously rated it average before I knew it was sequel bait. 2 stars
9/14/03 Jim Enjoyably spooky flick goes off the rails when the monster and the psychic showed up 3 stars
9/02/03 I Would Ridden with cliches, but still scary in its first half. 3 stars
8/20/03 moses 2 damm well better make up for the shit ending 4 stars
8/15/03 motherfucka pretty scary movie,but still got boring in the middle of the movie 3 stars
8/11/03 Double G good but 2nd looks better 3 stars
8/07/03 Flounder This is one of the best horror movies of the last 5 years 5 stars
6/26/03 Pissed Chris Fantastic beginning, uninspiring middle, and a juvenile ending... 4 stars
6/14/03 Jerry I want more!! Where's jeepers creepers 2? 5 stars
6/13/03 Alice Good acting and thats rare in Horrors... 4 stars
6/04/03 Jason Thomas I also can't believe the way Slava was praised and encouraged. And all the MOUTH BREATHING! 1 stars
5/26/03 Jim Enjoyably spooky flick goes off the rails when the monster and the psychic showed up 3 stars
5/25/03 Alicia The is the best...The ending was unexpected, but hey it works for me...I loved this movie 5 stars
4/26/03 Amber The characters actually gave a semi-reasonable reason for going towards known danger. 4 stars
4/24/03 Cynthia Glausi Crap 1 stars
4/23/03 Ralph R. Clemente horrible 1 stars
4/06/03 Nurman Noor Extraordinary ending 4 stars
4/04/03 Dre64 Great - looking film, everything else about it is totally stupid 1 stars
1/12/03 Timothy Dineen started off looking like a great horror film, but got lost along the way 1 stars
1/06/03 me was i suppose to be scared? 1 stars
11/11/02 Fonq35 This movie is to entertainment what Saddam is to love, peace and brotherhood... THIS SUCKS! 1 stars
10/11/02 Eric Like Joy Ride, this is scary, suspenseful horror entertainment. 5 stars
9/09/02 Ben Wasden Smart, stylish, and scary, with an intro that will knock your socks off. 5 stars
7/06/02 Valerie Cameron Right on, Akira_773, was creepily suspenseful until the ending that really bites. 2 stars
6/18/02 Akira_773 Never had an ending ruin a movie so badly for me 2 stars
6/03/02 David A. Entertaining, comic book style horror movie. It won't give you nightmares, but it's fun! 5 stars
5/28/02 Film Guy Fuck. whats gonig on here did these people even read the script 1 stars
5/18/02 Mrs. McGregor this movie, rocked!!!! but the first half was way more suspensful 4 stars
5/14/02 Blake This movie was so FREAKY, but I love it anyway. 5 stars
5/11/02 Sarah I love the movie! Mostly becuase of the hottie...Justin Long. The ending was unpredictable! 5 stars
4/29/02 eric kang its not great but the best horror film ive seen in awile 4 stars
4/14/02 Sap Enis Even though I saw it coming (too many spoilers here), the ending shocked me. He can't die! 5 stars
4/07/02 stoolie-bird scary if you havent seen a horror movie older than "pitch black" 2 stars
4/06/02 Jake I didn't like it. I felt the first 15 min were neat but nothing else. 2 stars
3/31/02 Cat The movie was sort of creepy.. but those people were such idiots 3 stars
3/30/02 Eric Good movie. 4 stars
3/26/02 Danielle very good 5 stars
3/25/02 David A. Stylish horror movie with a new kind of monster. It's a 60s, twilight-zoney feel! 5 stars
3/21/02 Stephanie i love this movie! 5 stars
3/14/02 Christian Confusing, bizarre, yet totally original. One you'l discuss after leaving the cinema. 4 stars
3/14/02 NWO4LIFE Starts out good, then slips, then regains itself in the last act. 4 stars
3/06/02 Rod Williams Blatantly stole from TCM, DUEL, PITCH BLACK, TERMINATOR, et al. Fresh, wet dog shit. 2 stars
3/02/02 Drew Rente excellent 5 stars
2/28/02 Chowie Good movie, but 1 thing-why the HELL WOULD YOU GO BACK AND LOOK IN THAT BLOODY PIPE?!?!?!?! 4 stars
2/09/02 Veronica Tatterworth Tense thriller ar first, but falls apart bigtime by end.. 2 stars
2/01/02 E-Funk This is how horror movies used to be made--when the characters we're clueless--awesome. 5 stars
1/31/02 special K the most annoying lead characters I've ever seen - save your money 1 stars
1/28/02 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! crap at the start, better in the middle, different at the end! cant wait for the 2nd one!!! 5 stars
1/27/02 Hayden More Funny then scary, Horrible movie 1 stars
1/25/02 Belinda Not scary!! shit!! 2 stars
1/20/02 Don Normann The best "half-a-horror-movie" I've ever seen! At least the visuals kick ass! 4 stars
1/18/02 Jeepers Creepers it is the worst movie ever! 1 stars
1/17/02 Kooler Totally loses credibility halfway through. 2 stars
1/16/02 Melissa Lambert A very good Horror movie!! 5 stars
1/15/02 David A. Exciting--Lots of Fun 4 stars
1/09/02 Spyguy2 Unique monster, HOT chick, wicked situations, nice dramatic tension, disturbing ending 4 stars
1/09/02 auroradae story was ok, but no development of killer, ending was so WEAK!!! 2 stars
12/12/01 ben wasden Unlike Urban Legends & Valentine, it wants to scare you not make you laugh unintentionally. 5 stars
11/27/01 sdfr Victor who??? It's a monster movie, and I had a blast. 4 stars
11/25/01 Tam I jumped out of my seat a few times, but they showed too much of the monster. 4 stars
11/08/01 benjamin harper it was wicked 5 stars
10/28/01 Matthew Jacobs beginning:nicely shot, sound effectively employed to shock. end=uninvolving and unscary 2 stars
10/24/01 Gary what a pile of shite with a capital S, Francis should be prombtly shot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/16/01 Kelly Scariest Ending ever! 3 stars
10/16/01 Matthew Bartley Starts brilliantly,nearly loses it, redeems itself at the end.Just grazes 'Fucking Awesome' 4 stars
10/14/01 Schmidty72 Hands down...one of the worst movies ever made. 1 stars
10/10/01 Obi Wan Very good start, but what the hell happened to the ending?? Maybe the DVD is better! 3 stars
10/09/01 Melissa in NYC I was anxious to leave the theatre. My retarded boyfriend loved it. Horrible shite! 1 stars
9/23/01 carlos r guzman good setup, hot mama(gina phillips),then goes to shit 1 stars
9/19/01 malcolm totally forgettable. worse than Tomb Raider 1 stars
9/17/01 Darren Shea Starts out good, but turns crappy before the halfway mark 2 stars
9/09/01 Chris Osborne This the first truly scary monster movie I have seen in a long, long time. 4 stars
9/09/01 Cat horrible. nothing made sense or fit together. a bunch of random scenes- never resolved. 1 stars
9/09/01 RavenM. For all its flaws, STILL the best horror movie I've seen in a long time. 4 stars
9/09/01 urbanaut Good start, then falls to pieces 1 stars
9/08/01 mashka Good start, but it did lose something after the first hour or so. Still better than most. 4 stars
9/08/01 joe I've seen better shit in public toilets 1 stars
9/08/01 Stu Wow! I can't believe it...finally, an actual horror movie! Even has an unhappy ending!! 5 stars
9/08/01 DRS Cant wait for night two 4 stars
9/05/01 June Ok, I'll suspend disbelief for a horror movie, but a monster with vanity plates? Come on! 1 stars
9/04/01 Tribe fan Reminded me of old twilight zone stories. Good flick! 4 stars
9/04/01 KillerBoB Best horror flick in a long time. 5 stars
9/04/01 Melissa in NYC Audience commentary is what made me NOT walk out. Everyone involved should be shot! 1 stars
9/04/01 ron20003 What a B-Grade Film should be. Fun!! 5 stars
9/04/01 Mike Weatherby Good Start, terrible ending 2 stars
9/04/01 E-Funk The best horror film in recent years. Reminiscent of 80's horror and the better for it. 5 stars
9/03/01 tdOMR Like are they planning for a sequel already, total abrupt ending 1 stars
9/03/01 Greyjack Good points and bad even out to make an overall unremarkable film. 3 stars
9/03/01 travis robertson a great monster thriller a change from slasher movies 5 stars
9/03/01 JNA the first hour was pretty good, the rest was awful 2 stars
9/02/01 b it was one of the worst movies I have ever seen 1 stars
9/02/01 BliX Great movie, well the first half anyway. Could have been great, 3 stars
9/02/01 Fish Eye Absolute piece of shit - don't waste your $ 1 stars
9/02/01 LM Ending sucks ass, it made the whole movie appear SHITTY !!! 4 stars
9/02/01 Tarman Fluck What You Heard This Movie is a real Horror Movie 5 stars
9/02/01 sally lopez it fucking sucked and a waste of time and money. and fuck yall. 1 stars
9/02/01 Keith I liked it. This horror film is very oldschool and fun to watch. 5 stars
9/02/01 Glenn It was good..it was a fast moving movie no dull moment 4 stars
9/02/01 TuttiDog So much BS, so much golden nuggets, this movie needs an over haul. 4 stars
9/01/01 Brandon copies from 15 or more other movies (old lady - get off my property) is just one 1 stars
9/01/01 longfellow heights this fucking sucked 1 stars
9/01/01 mike fillmore good horror flick exept for the ending 4 stars
9/01/01 DarkRomancer one great performance, some great scares, + one DUMB performance and some DUMB 'scares' 3 stars
9/01/01 Connor Dueck This movie scared me shitless for the first little while, then it became completely stupid 3 stars
9/01/01 Roy Smith MST3K anyone? 1 stars
9/01/01 JB Pretty good movie. In the spirit of Duel, Halloween, and The Terminator. 4 stars
9/01/01 Choder X The only scary thing about it was that we paid $8.25 1 stars
9/01/01 luke to counteract the narrow mindedness of jackass 5 stars
8/31/01 jackass Victor Salva is a child molester. Don't support his films. He raped a 12-year-old boy 1 stars
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  31-Aug-2001 (R)



Directed by
  Victor Salva

Written by
  Victor Salva

  Justin Long
  Gina Philips
  Patricia Belcher
  Jon Beshara
  Jonathan Breck
  Eileen Brennan

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