Jeepers Creepers (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

How long has it been since you saw a good horror film?

They all pretty much stink now, don't they? The Others was a decent "surprise ending" film in the gothic ghost story tradition. "Sleepy Hollow" was good, as were the first two Hannibal Lecter movies. 

Hmmm  ...where are the teen horror films? Has there ever been a good one? Let's ask IMDb - 

Since 1990, only two teen horror films have been rated above 6.5 at IMDb - Scream and Final Destination. Neither of them is rated over 7.5. (Scoopy Jr and I would add a third one to the list - Idle Hands, but that one is more funny than scary.)  If you go back another 10 years, you add Evil Dead, two of the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks (#1 and #3), and The Lost Boys. Still none over 7.5. If you include all years since time immemorial, you get Halloween as the genre champion, with a mere 7.5, and Carrie joins the list at 7.1

Here's the all-time top 10. Not sure what the 120 days of Sodom is doing on the list.


Rank Title Rating
Halloween (1978)
...aka John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) (USA: complete title)
Evil Dead, The (1982)
...aka Book of the Dead (1981) (USA: première title)
...aka Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror, The (1982) (closing credits title)
Carrie (1976)
Scream (1996)
Nightmare on Elm Street, A (1984)
Lost Boys, The (1987)
Final Destination (2000)
Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (1975)
...aka Salo ou les 120 journées de Sodome (1975) (France)
...aka Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Faculty, The (1998)
Scream 2 (1997)

This is not an easy genre to conquer. Look at it another way - there has never been a great one, and there haven't been that many good ones.

All things considered, I'd say Jeepers Creepers is good enough to be on that list. I'd have no trouble slotting it in the number 8 slot instead of that Sodom movie, and I'm completely comfortable telling you it is better than The Faculty or Scream 2.

In fact, it came very close to greatness.

Two teen siblings drive along a lonely country road, just bantering, when they are suddenly terrorized by an old beat-up truck that seemed to come out of nowhere at terrifying speed. They finally get away from the vehicle by ditching out into a field and resume their journey, only to pass an old church where the truck is parked. A mysterious figure is taking something, probably a wrapped human body,  from the truck and dumping it down a corrugated pipe into some kind of sewer or cellar.

What have the kids seen, and what should they do about it? 

The first hour of this film, the tale of the kids and their encounter with an inhuman horror beyond reason, is terrific. The stuff of nightmares. 

The last three or four minutes are also excellent, and the film has a surprisingly appropriate ending that avoided the genre cliches. 


a female corpse of an earlier victim was seen naked
 The only thing wrong with it is about a 10-15 minute stretch that involves a psychic providing back-story and a shoot-out in a police station, and even that wasn't too bad, because the creepy monster turned off the lights in the police station, and that produced some scary moments. The only thing I really didn't like about that conclusion is that they gave us too good a look at the killer. He was really scary when he was in a cornfield in the darkness, appearing to be just another scarecrow, or when he appeared to be almost humanoid when lugging the body from the truck.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, and a full screen version

  • Full-length director commentary

 But when you saw an exact shape and precise features, he lost some of the most powerful terror - the unknown. Then when the psychic tried to give the back-story there was a whiff of cheese.

There were some good jump cuts, some shocks, some spooky visuals, and the film has moments that are genuinely creepy. The monster sometimes seems to be a bit too much like a superpowered version of that psycho killer in The Silence of the Lambs, but that was more like homage than rip-off.

I'd have to say this was a surprisingly effective movie, and I'm not surprised that it became a sleeper hit last summer.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Berardinelli 2.5/4, Apollo 61/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 42% positive reviews, but only 21% from the inner circle.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.6 
  • With their dollars ... it was a surprise. Made for $10 million, it grossed $37 million domestically and $10 million in the UK. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Superior genre film, but not strong appeal to non-genre fans.

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