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[Short Reviews]

JEEPERS CREEPERS

For the first 20 minutes, Jeepers Creepers looks like a bona fide chiller. It unfurls on a long stretch of highway in the middle of hick country, where no one can hear you scream and there’s a smattering of creepy boarded-up old houses to go along with the freaky, rusted-out truck that menaces the interstate. Until it tips its hand otherwise, it’s Duel meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long) are collegiate siblings driving home for summer break. Along the way they see a man dumping what they believe are bodies down a sewer pipe. So what do they do? They do what any horror-film victim-in-waiting does, the most perilous thing possible — they stop and check it out. Darry falls down the shaft and lands in a psycho’s lair adorned with butchered bodies, and the kids spend the rest of the film fleeing from a madman. As a director, Victor Salva does a plausible job of establishing a macabre ambiance; as a writer, however, he indulges in cliché’d maneuvers that take a plunge for the worst when the incarnation of terror turns out to be Freddy Krueger with bat wings.

BY TOM MEEK

Issue Date: September 6 - 13, 2001