Back in 2001, I was still working in a video store, and I would take home all the new releases before they came out so I could watch them, and, according to the business model of the store, make recommendations. I enjoy my horror movies, and was intrigued by the idea of this one when I heard about it, so I took it home.
Sadly, I was less than impressed by it, and couldn’t understand how so many people loved it, or that it garnered a number of sequels, all involving the first film’s writer/director Victor Salva, so at least he had a vision for his creation. And so, I decided, some twenty odd years later, maybe it’s time to give it another chance.
I still didn’t love it, and I wanted to learn more about the the creature known as The Creeper, though I wasn’t always impressed with its design. The plot is bare bones, and that usually works for a horror movie, keep it simple and aim for the scares, maybe throw a little character development in, and hold on tight.
Brother and sister, Darry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Philips), are driving across country to head home for spring break, passing along old country roads, and the empty barrows of the land. And that, as we know, is where the horror will start.
They have a terrifying encounter with a rusted, vicious looking truck, and then spy its driver disposing of what looks like bodies. Worried that someone may be hurt, trapped, or dying, the pair return to investigate only to make a horrific discovery, not just in terms of the bodies, but in the being doing these killings and its methodology.
The Creeper as it becomes known as, isn’t human, and now, isn’t going to let Dar or Trish get away. So begins a chase across county lines, terrifying confrontations, and encounters with a horrifying creature that won’t stop coming.
There isn’t a lot of gore to be seen in the film, and sometimes I’m less than impressed with the design of the Creeper, and honestly, we don’t get enough mythology of the creature. It’s just a streamlined chase film as Dar and Trish work to escape the seemingly inescapable.
There’s some nice sibling charm between the leads, and if the film had just given me fifteen minutes, or thirty more, with a little more character development, and some more delving into the creature’s mythology – we learn a little bit about it, but I just wanted to know more about how it evolved, where it came from, and how it came to be hunt in rural America.
If there are answers in the sequels, perhaps I’ll have to check them out… has anybody seen them?