October 7, 2009

A Num Num on Elm Street, Part 2

I lived in the south for oh, 17 years, and in those years me and my family did a lot of roadtripping. I've always found long, deserted southern highways to be the definition of creepy. It's the perfect setting for a horror film, and when Jeepers Creepers begins, it takes advantage of it at full throttle. The concept, the setup, it's just so brilliant in its simplicity: You're on this lonely highway and you see something you shouldn't have, and it sees you too. Nobody else is around to save you. Whattayagonnado? Well if you're the director of this movie, you're going to ruin everything good you've got going for it once the first act is over. The middle act manages to coast on the success of the beginning, but it's coasting steadily downhill. The minute the sibling protagonists get off the highway and go to the police, the scary sensation of isolation is gone. Introducing other characters may have given the filmmakers an excuse to increase the body count, but it's poorly handled. And then the anticlimactic reveal of a creature that looks like the bastard child of a rubber duck and Mr. Scrooge, some random crazy black lady acting like the Oracle on a bender who is trying to explain what this creature is and failing spectacularly without even offering the protagonists a cookie, and somehow all of this has to do with that old song that goes "jeepers, creepers, where'd you get those peepers?" I'd compare the finale to a car accident but that would suggest some pretty gnarly explosions and twisted metal. It's more like a car that takes a wrong turn and runs out of gas out in the boonies and sputters to a dry, wheezing halt.

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