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Jeepers Creepers

WhAT’s EATing you? 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Joy of joys, another American teen horror film. Let’s play “Plot Paint-by-Numbers”. No doubt there’ll be a selection of good-looking teenagers who do stupid things and end up getting themselves knifed/slashed/eaten/vaporised. There’ll be a bizarre old man/woman who warns them pesky kids of the danger but is crucially unable to tell them how to avoid the aforementioned nasty demises. Of course there’ll also be a selection of grown-up officials who refuse to believe our hapless heroes UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. And in-between, there will most definitely be sundry gruesome incidences involving who-knows-what gory special effects.

“Jeepers Creepers” contains all these plot elements, indeed it would be something of a disappointment if it didn’t. However, what the film also contains, and what makes it surpass the vast majority of soulless horror films of late (“Dracula: 2001” j’accuse) is a sheer, bloody-minded back-to-basics sensibility that eschews any sense of reason or explanation. This is a horror film in which nasty things happen to people who not only don’t deserve it, but also cannot understand what is happening. As an audience we are thrown right into the bloody mix, and at the conclusion are thrown right back out again, and left to draw our own conclusions.

The performances of the two leads are surprisingly assured, hitting the right note between terror and incomprehension. Crucially, the audience is not given a view of the Creeper, a mysterious cowled figure with a penchant for body sculptures, until the middle third of the film, allowing a very palpable sense of tension to crawl its way into the proceedings. The revelation itself may be something of a disappointment, but the film quickly kicks into gear again, including a nasty “Terminator”-inspired sequence in a police station. Then comes the ending. Slam, bam, in your face. There’s no getting away from the fact that the ending… no, actually, that would spoil it. You’ll have to see it for yourselves.

“Jeepers Creepers” is by no stretch of the imagination an original film, but it has style to spare, thanks to the direction of Victor Salva, and some great scenes that hoist it above the myriad of lesser slasher films. If you like your horror in your face, taking no prisoners, then this is the one.

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2001/2002 Spring Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Spring Term (35mm)