All the Net hype would have you believe this is the biggest revolution since “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or the first “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie – its not. What ‘Jeepers’ is though is a very well crafted and slickly made old fashioned horror suspense thriller, a harkening back to the movies of the genre before “Scream” turned them into self-referential comedies.
Director Victor Salva has pulled together a very interesting modern day myth with simple elements and maybe ten speaking roles to create a tighter film than you?probably expect.Like the best kind of movies its starts off simple with our two heroes on a road trip through Nowhere, USA when a big and very old truck runs ’em off the road.
It’s then that the premise is set up with the pair witnessing the truck’s driver dumping a human shaped object wrapped in a sheet down a drainpipe by an old church. From there the thrill ride begins – it clocks in at about 100 minutes and sticks to the main story (no subplots) with events taking place over the course of a single 24 hour period. Along the way there’s some really good jumps too – the movie relying a hell of a lot more on shocks than gore (shocks are always the better of the two).
We all know its the simple touches that work, and that applies to this too – such as making our lead heroes brother and sister and thus avoiding some cheesy half-hearted attempt at a romance subplot. There’s some great laughs to ease the tension at times, and they work as they’re moments of pure black comedy rather than some smart alec kid dropping a TV or movie reference.
Both Long & Philips are great leads – very good-looking but in a casual way, very personable and reacting to events quite naturally – she’s smart and assertive while he’s clever but never puts on a macho bullshit act. Both should get a lot of future work out of this as they’re some of the best performances there’s been in this genre in a while.Same can’t be said for the supporting cast – Patricia Belcher does well as a psychic but the role isn’t as well written as it should’ve been (she talks way too much) and the tying in of the song to events remains somewhat unconvincing by the end.
It’s always great to see Eileen Brennan in a cameo even if again the role feels somewhat underdeveloped. Both of those are minor complaints though. What will really test people is the shock ending which I’m very happy to say is both different and bolder than most films in the genre, but audience reaction to it will vary – some praising its inventiveness whilst others will leave with a sour taste in their mouths after enjoying the roller coaster ride.
I really enjoyed the way it ends but you’ll have to see it for yourself. All up JC proves to be a hell of a good time. Its not going to reinvent the genre but its a shining example of the way films used to be made – simple, scary, imaginative, effective, and above all great fun. A real highlight of the season.