Going Down the Tube
It was all going so well, there was horror both of the visual variety as well as some unexpected frights and there was this sense of ominous doom and then it all went tits up. What am I on about? "Jeepers Creepers" a horror movie which whilst feeling cliche as we have two teens and a scary man in a rusty old truck genuinely was entertaining. But then for some reason having done a nice if a little typical job of delivering horror action it tries to become clever, to make "Jeepers Creepers" into something more than it is by expanding on the basic premise and it simply goes wrong, big time.
Heading back home together from college brother and sister Darry (Justin Long - Going the Distance) and Trish (Gina Philips - My Baby Is Missing) have a close encounter with a rusty old van which tries to frighten them off the road and then a little further down the road see the truck parked and what looks like a dead body being dumped into a tube. Despite being scared Darry wants to go back to investigate and when they do what he discovers leaves him in a traumatized state. It also leaves them with a crazy being after them having discovered the secrets of the tube.
When "Jeepers Creepers" starts it all feels very typical, we may have the set up of a brother and sister but for all sense and purposes we have two teens on an isolated road having a run in with a scary man in an equally scary van. But whilst it feels cliche it is good cliche because the initial encounter with the van is fast and frantic and then when we see the creepy looking man standing over the tube as he dumps a body down it it gets us intrigued because of his look. And the whole of the first half works as this cliche build up gives us visual horror as we encounter mutilated bodies sewn together with what look like shoe laces and then we also get those frights from the unexpected.
But then "Jeepers Creepers" goes seriously wrong as having given us a well worked cliche it then tries to make it into something more and that more is poor. I won't go into detail but let's just say the evolution of the creepy man and then the inclusion of a woman who has visions spoils everything. And sadly the ability to deliver a mix of visual horror and frights also ends up disappearing as mindless action dominates things right up until the end.
And that is to be honest it because whilst "Jeepers Creepers" stars Justin Long and Gina Philips their characters are just typical horror teens, with that exception of them being family. In fact whilst Jonathan Breck as The Creeper looks scary most of that is down to the wonderful costume department who do a good job of giving him a creepy look, well in the first half that is.
What this all boils down to is that "Jeepers Creepers" starts well with a cliche set up developed nicely to deliver horror. But then sadly it goes wrong and in trying to turn cliche into something different it becomes boring.