i read a review that said jeepers creepers starts out strong but finishes weak. i found this very true. the first 30 minutes is a masterpiece of suspense cinema. once the mystery is revealed and you see the monster, the movie becomes very much like a standard monster film.
right off the bat, the movie throws away traditional horror convention where you have a boy and a girl and there's that element of sexual tension that sells tickets. we find out the couple in the story is in fact a brother and a sister driving back home during spring break. here is something you almost never see in movies. the sibling rivalry that's established early in the movie makes you feel for these characters. a little bit of an interesting casting. darryl is played by justin long, an actor i've never seen before*. the part of the sister, trish, is played by gina philips, whom i am familiar with. the last time i saw her was on boston public, she played this controversial (aren't they all on that show?) english teacher who openly flirted with one of her student and talked about another student in a sexual manner in the teacher lounge (ooh, i hope she comes back to the show next season, i'd like to see more of her).
so essentially this is a monster movie. the question you must be asking is, okay, so what does the monster look like? early on the monster appears in silhouette, and it looks like a cowboy actually, long trench coat, boots, wide-rim hat. when you actually do see the monster, the face is definitely scary, but it has hair styled in a manner that can easily be called a mullet. now come on, how can anyone take a monster seriously who has a mullet? towards the end when you (spoiler) realizes the monster also has wings, that's pretty cool. and the final scene when the monster (spoiler) is taking away one of the main characters and does this threat display, that's pretty cool as well. besides the mullet, another thing i thought was really kind of stupid was at one point during the movie, the monster is actually whistling the "jeepers creepers" tune. now the monster doesn't speak during the whole movie -- it just makes these menacing growling sounds -- yet it's able to whistle a tune?
what's so unique about this monster? well, did i mention it appears only every 23 years, where it then feeds for 23 days? and it's not just random monster feeding. no sir, that'd be so plain and boring! this monster eats to survive, in the sense that if it needs to breathe, it eats someone's lungs, if it needs to see, it eats someone's eyes. it's an interesting idea, but nowhere in the movie does it really show this taking place. and what's with the 23? it's cool that this creature has a cyclical lifespan (sort of like the cicada!), but 23 just came out of nowhere. i like how the monster knows who's good to eat by inducing fear in people and then smelling them. young brother's dirty laundry in the backseat of the car turns out to be a very bad idea!
another cool scene that's unique to this movie (i've never seen it anywhere else) is when they actually do confront the monster on the road. the two kids decide to run it over, and the monster is able to just jump over the roof of the car as soon as it comes. but then the sister (who's driving) gets creative and ends up hitting the monster, whereby she goes completely mental and backs over the monster a few times for good measure. of course the monster survives this attack, but for a few minutes, it was a brilliant scene, where for this rare occasion, the victims actually do get even with the monster, even if it is just for a short while. when next we see the monster, it's still injured and walks around with a limp.
somewhere in the middle of the movie, when the monster is just about to reveal itself, an usher with a glowing red wand walked down the aisle, went to check the emergency exit door in front of the theatre. i totally flinched when she came by, because i only saw this fast moving thing approach me in my peripheral vision. i noticed the guy in front of me flinched as well, so i'm glad i wasn't the only one! but talk about bad timing! i wonder if she did it on purpose, but it really scared the crap out of me.
i'd recommend this movie to any horror film lovers out there. as far as story goes, the first half is good, the second half becomes fairly routine. the monster is interesting but not as scary as it can be because of a few character flaws. there are definitely some unique aspects to the movie, but it's certainly not going to revolutionize and revitalize the horror movie genre like scream did when it came out. if you're a sucker for horror, then it's worth seeing. otherwise, wait for it to come out on cable.
* 010916 justin long, i have seen you before! he played the scifi convention nerd in galaxy guest.