By Glenn ferrara
“Jeepers Creepers” starts off mildly promising, but quickly nose-dives into a pit of monster-movie clichés.
Siblings Justin Long (“Galaxy Quest”) and Gina Philips (TV’s “Ally McBeal”) are driving home from college via the scenic back-wood route. They bicker like brothers and sisters are supposed to. Luckily, the film’s one shining moment comes along just in time to shut the two up.
After being hassled on the road by the driver of a creepy-looking truck, the two kids drive past a church where the same truck is parked, and a trench-coated figure is seen dumping what looks like bodies into large pipe.
There’s lots you could do with a simple but effective opening such as that. What actually happens is far less interesting.
Of course, the two go back to investigate. Turns out, the pipe leads to a corpse-filled chamber underneath the church. After a lot of gasps and some cheap scares, the kids get the local police involved, which marks the beginning of the end for this movie.
While the set-up implies a scary, creature-in-the-shadows thriller, the rest of the movie is a monster-rampage flick that is more in line with a “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequel (thankfully, sans the corny one-liners).
As the story moves in, it is ludicrously revealed through a psychic that the menacing fella is some kind of monster that wants something from one of the kids. This is presumed to be a body part, because, for reasons unknown, this “Creeper” takes only certain parts from certain people. At least it’s original.
That’s all there is to tell about the Creeper. Very little is revealed about his motives or history, which isn’t a bad thing — a little mystery can be fun. What works against the monster is that it is poorly designed, and it is fully introduced to the audience far too early in the film. The creature, which looks a little like Jack Klugman, is shown 30 minutes into the movie. These filmmakers apparently never saw “The Blair Witch Project.”
The end, which brought out jeers from the audience, is so painfully void of any type of payoff that you’ll mostly likely not want to hear about the sequel that it sets up.
Reach Qguide writer Glenn Ferrara by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.