Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Jeepers Creepers
USA 2001 : Victor Salva : approx 90 mins
transcript of e-mail sent Sunday, 10th June, 2001:
Dear Harry Knowles and all at Aint It Cool News
I have sent a few scoops to AICN in the past but I’m not aware of any of them getting printed. I am a freelance movie reviewer based in the UK, and I have been posting my reviews at Jigsaw Lounge (www.jigsawlounge.co.uk) for over a year, with over 200 now on line – I am not connected with any movie studio.
This week I saw Jeepers Creepers, and I remembered how positive early word on Pitch Black helped that project gain word-of-mouth. I believe that Jeepers Creepers deserves to do as well, if not better, but it could so easily end up a sleeper cult hit – not a bad fate, of course, but I think the best US horror movie of the last 10 years deserves to be seen by as wide a viewership as possible.
Though it was co-produced by Coppola, and is written and directed by Victor Salva, who did Powder back in ’95, it doesn’t have any big-name stars, and the concept will be tricky to get over in posters and trailers. It starts off somewhat Texas Chainsaw Massacre-ish, with a brother and sister driving through a rural American backwater, and stumbling across a horrific secret.
The less you know about this picture in advance, the better: I knew nothing at all apart from the title, but this was a massive advantage, as the movie is wonderfully unpredictable. It is also extremely simple: a small number of locations and characters, and it all happens in a single day – pretty strict observation of the Classical Unities, if you like.
I was gripped by the movie while watching it, waiting for the director to put a foot wrong and spoil things: this never happened. It’s a short movie (80-95 would be my guess) and the ending comes at just the right time. The more I think about it, the better it gets: think HH Munro (Saki)’s early c20th tales of the macabre, think Twilight Zone.
I saw it as part of a 4-day 16-movie screening along with much more high profile pics such as Amelie, Shrek, Swordfish and Moulin Rouge. I liked plenty of these, but Jeepers Creepers was comfortably the best. Apparently it’s only just been completed – US release end of August, out over here for Halloween – and I am very keen to hear other viewers’ reactions. This film does not deserve to be dismissed as just another little fright pic – I’m hoping it might build and find its audience, like Final Destination did, through word of mouth. I’m hoping that process starts here and now, with this e-mail.
For an exclusive interview with director Victor Salva click here
11th June, 2001
by Neil Young