Release Date(s)2001 (June 14, 2016)
Studio(s)American Zoetrope/Orion Pictures/United Artists/MGM/20th Century Fox (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: A
Jeepers Creepers was released in 2001 and was directed by Victor Salva. It stars Justin Long and Gina Phillips as a couple of twenty-something siblings driving home from college when they run into a murderous, cannibalistic demon man in a large brown truck. After discovering its lair and the horrible things that it’s been doing there, they’re quickly on the run as it now has its sights set upon them.
The last time that I saw Jeepers Creepers was when it first hit home video way back in 2001, and to be honest, I hadn’t given it too much thought since. It wasn’t a movie that I was overjoyed with at the time. I kind of felt like it had annoying characters but great monster effects. Amazingly, fifteen years later, I still feel that way. The only difference is that I can pick up on the slow burn pace that the movie follows through on. The lead characters aren’t simply thrust into danger in the first ten minutes, nor do we even get a look at the monster right away. Instead, the movie focuses on atmosphere and visuals while getting to know its lead characters, which it accomplishes in broad daylight, long before darkness ever falls in the latter half of the movie. Yet still, the movie’s true highlight is its monster. He’s pretty distinct-looking and genuinely creepy at times. Much of the movie’s prosthetic effects are top of the line, aside from very dated low budget CGI additions sprinkled in here and there, which are very noticeable, but forgivable. So for the most part, the movie does a lot of things right when dealing with the horror-related elements.
Unfortunately, the movie falters with its main characters. They’re certainly not the kind of people I would want to take a cross-country trip with. They’re petty and annoying for most of the running time and act pretty childish towards each, just because they’re siblings. Mind you, they’re in their twenties, yet they’re still having this ridiculous, child-like banter between each other constantly. Usually in a horror movie, you root for the monster, but I don’t think that’s what this movie was going for. It attempted to play up some kind of sympathy angle, especially during its anti-climactic ending, but it never succeeds because its leads are so damned irritating. I’m also not a fan of horror movies where one character sees something that others don’t and when telling them about it, they repeat that god-awful clichéd line “you believe me, don’t you?” It’s more of a nuisance than anything, especially when it’s two people who are really close, or in this case, family members. That’s the kind of stuff I have to really power through to get to the finish line.
Jeepers Creepers managed to do pretty well at the box office and on home video when it was released. It was successful enough to warrant a sequel, which didn’t do much to improve upon some of the problems I had with the original. Unfortunately, like all of Victor Salva’s work, both movies always have this shadow looming over them due to the crimes that the director committed in real life, which I won’t get into here. Despite that, it’s still a well-remembered movie by many genre fans. It may lack characters that you can root for, but it has plenty to offer in terms of prosthetic make-up effects, atmosphere, and some pretty effective set pieces.
As I said before, I haven’t seen this movie since the twilight years of VHS, so I can’t make any comparisons to its previous DVD and Blu-ray releases. Scream Factory’s release contains a new 2K scan of the film’s interpositive element, yielding a very strong, but not altogether perfect, presentation. It’s a very clean transfer with an unobtrusive grain structure. Detail is mostly good, although a tad lost during some of the darker shots, likely inherent in the original cinematography. Colors are often warm, yielding skin tones that are a bit orange, but I’m reasonably sure this is by design. There aren’t too many colors to choose from that really pop as it’s a mostly tan palette. Blacks are deep, perhaps too deep, and contrast and brightness levels are quite satisfactory. There are also no immediate signs of digital enhancement, nor are there any noticeable film artifacts left behind. As for the audio, two options are available: 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD. I found the 5.1 track to be a mostly front-heavy presentation with only a few instances of surround dynamics employed. On both tracks, dialogue is crystal clear and both the sound effects and score have plenty of life to them. Some nice low end moments are also present, and there’s an abundance of overall clarity. There are also subtitles in English SDH for those who might need them.
This two disc set also comes packed with some nice extra material that’s definitely worth digging into. On the first disc, there are two audio commentaries: one with director Victor Salva and actors Justin Long & Gina Phillips, and the other with Salva himself. On the second disc, there’s the Jeepers Creepers: Now and Then featurette; the From Critters to Creepers with Barry Opper interview; The Town Psychic with Patricia Belcher interview; a set of Behind the Peepers featurettes (Finding Trish and Darry, Designing the Creeper, Cars and Trucks, The Creeper Comes to Florida, Night Shoots, Making the Score); and additional material listed under More Creepers: 11 deleted and alternate scenes, a still gallery, the original theatrical trailer, and a radio spot.
Jeepers Creepers is definitely an attempt to make an old-fashioned monster movie, but I found that it didn’t pay off in a way that was particularly satisfying. Still, the movie has its fans, and I’m sure many of them will be more than pleased with Scream Factory’s treatment of it on Blu-ray. With a great transfer and extras, and it’s definitely a title worthy of many fans’ horror libraries.
- Tim Salmons