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Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Jeepers Creepers is a 2001 American horror film written and directed by Victor Salva. The movie takes its name from the 1938 song "Jeepers Creepers" which is featured in the film. The film chronicles a day in the life of siblings, Trish (Gina Philips) and her brother Darry Jenner (Justin Long) coming home from college for Spring break. As they drive through the Florida countryside in their 1960 Chevrolet Impala, a mysterious driver in a rusty old 1941 Chevy COE tries to run them off the road. After letting the vehicle pass them, they later see the same truck, in the distance off the side of the road, with a hulking man sliding what looks to be bodies covered with blood stained sheets, into a large pipe sticking out of the ground next to an old, abandoned church. The driver, noticing Darry and Trish have seen him, catches up to them and tries to run them off the road a second time. After barely escaping, Darry insists they go back to the church and investigate. Darry proceeds to crawl inside the pipe with Trish holding on to him, but she loses her grip and he slides down the pipe.
Hollywood seems to love road trips, and fear takes a pretty twisted one in the surprisingly effective monster movie Jeepers Creepers. It stars the young, fresh, lively faces of Justin Long (Galaxy Quest) and Gina Philips (Living Out Loud) as Darryl and Trish, a college-aged brother and sister who are driving home from spring break, passing the hours by bickering and insulting each other. The film engages us early with charisma generated in the early scenes of their playfulness. Soon enough we learn of an old tale that involves a college student who has mysteriously disappeared on the same road the two siblings travel, and then the siblings encounter a puke-colored truck that almost tramples their aging car in its path.
Later, on the same road, they spot the truck parked in the lot of an abandoned church. From a distance, they watch the bizarre-looking driver toss big, body-shaped bundles in a nearby sewer pipe. He spots their spying and soon runs them off the road. Darryl and Trish decide they should return to the pipe to scope it out. But Darryl falls down the pipe, and what he finds will leave both of them in a fast-paced, terrifying fight for their lives. This figure wants something from one of them. Who? What? You'll have to ride this coaster for yourself to find out.
Jeepers Creepers isn't the kind of monster movie that relies on special effects and gory images to terrify the audience. In the film's press notes, director Victor Salva quotes his conscious decision not to "predicate on gore, but rather suspense and images that would be hard to forget -- not because they're graphic, but because they're unnerving and indelible." And he's right.
The frightening stuff works because the film contains believable, strong central characters and lots of unexpected shocks, and it gives us time to catch our breath and react to the events. Jeepers Creepers (never mind the silly title) doesn't try to keep the same heart-racing pace throughout. Instead, it creates new terrifying circumstances for the characters. Jeepers Creepers is the kind of movie that will definitely make you grab the arm of your date. If you happen to be a guy, well, we're sorry if you look like a sissy.
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