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Monday June 14th

Childish, Predictable `Jeepers Creepers' Fizzles Out

Jeepers Creepers

If you've seen any ads for "Jeepers Creepers," you've seen Clive Barker's quote about it -- "The most scary, stylish horror movie I've seen in years." Slow down, Clive.

While "Jeepers Creepers" begins as an unambitious but well-done horror flick about a brother and sister on a road trip, it loses steam a third of the way through and ultimately fizzles in a truly bizarre ending.

There are two types of horror flicks. There's the kind where the evil force is known and there's the kind where it's left to your imagination. This film showed promise as it began as the former, but when the monster is prematurely revealed, it was a tremendous letdown. Midway through director Victor Salva's latest, "Jeepers Creepers" goes from an effective psychological horror to a cheesy monster flick.

Once the monster is revealed, the realism that had made the beginning of the film surprisingly creepy goes out the window as plot holes and ridiculous main character decisions that are indicative of a stereotypical bad horror film begin to pile up. Asinine plot twists such as a crazy, gun-toting cat-lady cameo make the promising beginning seem like a distant memory by the end of the film.

As the film opens, we are introduced to Trish (Gina Philips) and Darryl (Justin Long) as they bicker their way down a deserted country road. Long and Philips make a believable (though overly childish) pair as they argue about inane things like the official rules to a license plate identification game.

Unfortunately, as the film deteriorates, so do the cast's acting skills. Long in particular seems to have been under the impression that the best way to show that he was on the verge of wetting himself was to open his eyes as wide as possible.

The problem was accentuated by some of the Salva's direction, which relies too heavily on reaction shots throughout the film. This probably is due to the fact that the things the characters are reacting to generally are not scary. So instead of close-ups on a lame monster, we see how big Long can make his eyes.

Unlike most horror flicks, no attempt was made to neatly tie together all the loose ends that had unraveled during the film. Though explaining everything is annoying and often unnecessary, "Jeepers Creepers" makes the equally egregious error of explaining nothing -- the most surprising event of the entire film was the credits rolling.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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