Release Date(s)2003 (June 14, 2016)
Studio(s)American Zoetrope/United Artists/MGM/20th Century Fox (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: A
Jeepers Creepers 2 is the 2003 sequel to the original movie released two years prior. It was, once again, written and directed by Victor Salva and picks up, more or less, where the last film left off. During the last days of its 23 day feeding cycle, the demonic “Creeper” is now on the hunt for more human victims to harvest from. After absconding with a young farm boy, it sets its sights on a school bus of high school football players and cheerleaders. What it doesn’t know is that the father of the farm boy is out for revenge and has a trick up his sleeve to finally capture it.
Right off the bat, the sequel to Jeepers Creepers is dramatically improved with the presence of Ray Wise in one of the principle roles. He is absolutely great as the vengeance-seeking father and the set pieces involving him and the Creeper are pretty entertaining. Also back are the fantastic prosthetic make-up effects, and the CGI that was questionable in the previous film has now been improved upon. The building of atmosphere and the slow burn approach to the pace of the film is still intact as well.
Unfortunately, this movie inherits the previous movie’s main criticism that I had, which was that the lead characters weren’t very appealing. In fact, they were downright annoying at times, to the point where I was taken out of the movie and didn’t really care if they lived or died. I had hoped that the sequel would fix that, but instead, it adds even more annoying characters. Not only annoying, but uneven as far as their characteristics and ultimate goals go. They spend most of their screen time bickering with each other to the point of distraction, and by distraction, I mean me losing interest.
The plot of the movie is actually a lot more fun than the first movie on paper, but it’s executed with characters that I just don’t give much of a shit about and could care less what happens to them. That’s bad news in a movie where that’s a key factor. I personally think that these movies would work better with satirical elements, a la Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The monster itself could still be scary and effective, but these movies need to be fun and not take themselves so seriously all the time. There aren’t even moments of levity to be had between characters, and by the time you’re thrown into a horrific situation with them, you’re unsure who to root for. Personally, this time around, I wanted the monster to kill all of these people. It’s not what the movie was going for, but that’s how I felt while watching it.
Despite my opinions, Jeepers Creepers 2 did very well upon release, ultimately doing about triple its budget. Like his other work, the movie also has a stigma because of the director’s real world problems, but it’s interesting to look back on his work before most people knew about them. Obviously, I’m not going to get into the specifics as it has no bearing on what I’m doing. If you want to know that information, it’s definitely out there for you to find. The bottom line about the film though is that it’s marginally better and marginally worse in various ways. But for a horror movie, particularly a monster movie, the monster is the best thing in it.
As I stated about the first film in my review of it, I haven’t seen Jeepers Creepers 2 since it first hit home video back in 2003, so me trying to make any comparisons to previous DVD and Blu-ray releases is kind of pointless. Scream Factory’s release of the film features another very strong transfer with an unobtrusive grain field and strong visual detail. It certainly looks to be a bump up from its predecessor visually, particularly the opening sequence. Like the previous film, it tends to be extremely dark at times and some of the detail can be lost as a consequence, which appears to be a stylistic choice. Colors are a little more varied, but mostly warm and brown-based. Skin tones are uneven, but they tend to lean towards a tanned look. Blacks are inky deep, and both the contrast and brightness levels are quite good. There are also no immediate signs of digital enhancement, nor are there any noticeable film artifacts left behind. It’s a very clean and stable presentation, overall. Audio options include English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD tracks. The 5.1 track is much more involved sonically than the first film. Sound effects and score have a lot more room to play in the surrounding speakers, and there is plenty of low end support on hand. Dialogue is always crystal clear and overall clarity is abundant. When all is said and done, it’s an excellent presentation. There are also subtitles in English SDH for those who might need them.
Like Scream Factory’s release of the first film, this Blu-ray package comes bundled with a substantial amount of extra material to cull through. On the first disc, there are two audio commentaries to choose from: one with director Victor Salva and various cast members, and the other with actor Jonathan Breck, production illustrator Brad Parker, and make-up effects supervisor Brian Penikas. On the second disc, there’s a Jeepers Creepers 2: Then and Now featurette; A Father’s Revenge with Ray Wise interview; Don’t Get Off the Bus!, interviews with actors Tom Tarantini, Thom Gossom Jr., and Diane Delano; a set of more Featurettes (A Day in Hell: A Look at the Filming of Jeepers Creepers 2, Lights, Camera, Creeper: The Making of Jeepers Creepers 2, Creeper Creation, The Orphanage Visual Effects Reel, Creeper Composer, Storyboards); a non-indexed set of deleted scenes; photo galleries of the cast and crew and behind the scenes stills; and the movie’s original theatrical trailer.
Jeepers Creepers 2 will certainly appeal to many horror fans of this generation who weren’t around when it first came along. I personally don’t care much for these movies, but there are some things to appreciate about them. It’s just unfortunate that they’re not a little more tongue-in-cheek like I would prefer. Regardless, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation will certainly impress fans, new and old.
- Tim Salmons