Review of "Jeepers Creepers, Let's
Go To The Drive-In"
by Dennis Morton
I was desperate. This column was due. I'd
seen most of the movies in town but all the good ones had been written
about. And in light of the ineffable horrors we're all struggling to come
to terms with this week, movies seemed irrelevant, almost insignificant.
Just as I was about to throw in the towel, my friend said: Let's go to
"Yes", I said immediately, "Let's go to
the Drive-In." And so we did. It seemed right. I hadn't been to a drive-in
movie since childhood. Perhaps, as in those subliminal popcorn ads of old,
my mind was working unconsciously... suggesting that even a transitory
return to a symbol of those years of innocence might offer a few moments
of solace. And if that's what I was thinking, I was right.
We got there early, before the previews
started. A crepuscular light doused the vast plain of vehicles. It turned
pick-up trucks with cabs perched high above over-sized tires into harmless
rabbits. In the failing light, even the dreaded SUV's seemed like benign
bovines, bedded down for the night.
We found the spot we wanted and secured
the speaker just inside the back window. The imperfect, very human voice
of a living creature issued from it and informed us that we could turn
the car radio to 93.1 on the dial and listen to the movie's soundtrack
on the car's sound system. We opted for the full retro effect of the drive-in's
single speaker. And we appreciated not having to listen to the smarmy-voiced,
confection-hawking narrator that lurks, zombie-like, in every multi-plex.
Which reminds me of the movie that just
happened to be playing that night: Jeepers Creepers. It's an odd film and
as soon as it started my friend and I realized yet another reason to appreciate
the drive-in. We could talk about the movie without fear of corrupting
the airspace of others. She quickly pointed out that the movie opens with
an homage to Night Of The Living Dead, a movie I somehow missed on
the way to maturity. "Look, it's even a brother and sister", she said.
We were thoroughly engaged for the first
twenty minutes, during which most of the 'action' took place in a moving
car. The writing was sharp and witty and the two young actors were equal
The movie began to fall apart when the
creepiness set in. Like most horror flicks, it quickly adopted the logic
of a typical nightmare. Each decision the protagonists made was exactly
the wrong decision, one guaranteed to propel them deeper and deeper into
the maws of malice. But my friend was impressed by an artful evisceration
about midway into the movie, and we both noted a scene at the end of the
picture that was reminiscent of an eerie moment in the recent A.I.
As flawed as the movie turned out to be,
we actually enjoyed it. I won't urge you to see it, but I will suggest
that you visit your neighborhood drive-in theatre. For a few hours, at
least, you'll find yourself in a time warp. And in these troubled days,
that's a luxury indeed.
For the Film Gang, this is Dennis Morton.
Copyright Dennis Morton 2001