An unsettling, gory, but intelligent horror flick, "Jeepers Creepers" is the best picture of its kind since "Scream". It blends the postmodern sensibility of Wes Craven's slasher satire and the rawness of Tobe Hooper's "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" to fearsome effect. The result is a scary movie that will have you cowering beneath your popcorn bucket.
Bickering siblings Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long) are driving home for their spring holiday when an ominous black truck appears in their rear-view mirror. In a scene reminiscent of Steven Spielberg's "Duel", the truck tries to run them off the road, terrifying the pair and leaving them to puzzle over its bizarre number plate: BEATINGU.
The pair spot said truck again, this time parked near an abandoned church. They see a cloaked figure dumping something down a drainage pipe and, naturally, return to investigate.
Writer-director Victor Salva based his script on an incident experienced by nosy travellers. He manages to overcome the implausibility of the tale through self-referential dialogue (the characters acknowledge they're doing the kind of dumb thing people do in horror movies), and some exquisitely well-placed shocks.
Salva also draws on classical literature (Dante's "Inferno") and urban legend to create some really startling imagery, and the kind of gore that some may find excessive. Even the woeful title turns out to have a more sinister significance, with a Johnny Mercer song appropriated for the most unpleasant of reasons. Seeing is believing.