**½/**** Image B- Sound A- Extras A-
starring Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher
written and directed by Victor Salva
by Walter Chaw Set on the rural highways and dirt byways of Anywhere, America during a long, hot summer, Victor Salva's Jeepers Creepers is a film of two distinct halves--the first astonishingly good, the second derivative--drawn together by a finale that is both fair and surprising. It could have been much better overall had it isolated its sympathetic heroes in the middle of a Texas Chain Saw Massacre nightmare, and indeed, the parts of it that work best are those that most recall Tobe Hooper's rustic nightmare. (Particularly the suddenness of the initial attack and the subsequent discovery of the beast's abattoir lair.) Once policemen and bumpkins are introduced in a series of repetitive "I don't believe your story--hey, why did the lights go out" scenarios, however, Jeepers Creepers, while retaining Salva's indisputably cinematic eye, becomes something a good deal more predictable and consequently safer. The creation of a comfort-zone halfway through is a terrible shame, not because it's horrible in and of itself, but because for almost an hour Jeepers Creepers holds great promise.