Jeepers Creepers Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, October 01, 2012
Jeepers Creepers is a fairly divisive film. Many horror fans find it hard to admit to liking this film; it's totally not acceptable to do so. Yet found here is a fairly unique monster movie, purposefully made in the style of late 60's or early 70's horror films which many of those same fans purport to love. So this should have been a sure fire success, rather than just a box office records breaker that is disregarded by hardcore aficionados (it set the record for the highest Labor Day weekend, but has since been surpassed). Regardless of the disconnect, there's a new Blu-ray in town for horror fans to wrap their wretched maws around. After tearing past the celophanic security layer, it's time to see how MGM did with the first high definition home release of director Victor Salva's (Clownhouse) unique early 00's monster movie.
For the unfamiliar, Jeepers Creepers follows the misadventures of sibling duo Darry (Justin Long, Drag Me to Hell) and Trisha (Gina Philips, Dead & Breakfast) as they drive along rolling rural fields, returning home for the holidays. The casting department deserves a nod for so precise a pairing of actors. Trish and Darry fill the trip with exactly the bored games and friendly bickering that anyone with a sibling can associate with. This simple slice of normal live is a great foundation to build solid scares on. As the pair are cruising the country side in sis' classic car, they're antagonized by an angry auto with old, rusted stylings, and an aggressive driver. After they're clear of this monstrous truck, Darry spots it parked near an old church; its driver is busy nearby, throwing bloody wrapped bundles down a drainage ditch.
Their investigation leads them to an ancient creature, The Creeper, who is loosed every twenty-third spring, on the twenty-third day, for twenty-three hours, to feast on any unlucky humans it can catch. By eating their body parts, it's able to regenerate it's own; by doing so it can live forever. The design of The Creeper is very cool, drawing not only from demon and gargoyle forms, but also on the haunting silhouette of a stranger in a worn duster and wide brimmed hat. The overlap of styles is mirrored in the juxtaposition of an intelligence unlikely in such a creature. Jonathan Breck channels a feral nature in his performance as the monster, instilling in it a bodily hunger to fulfill it's grisly nature.
It's in the third act where Jeepers Creepers begins to falter. It doesn't stumble and fall, but it can't maintain the style, mystery, and fear of the first hour through to it's conclusion. Without spilling the beans on the ending, it's worth noting that it's unique and fascinating. It's also refreshing, while simultaneously being creepy and haunting. You'll likely find yourself whistling.
The high definition transfer here was slightly disappointing. There's a noticeable gritty quality to the entire first half hour. It seems to leave of it's own accord before the halfway point, but a graininess remains. It's tough to discern if this was the intention of the film maker, or simply not as high quality a transfer as possible. On the plus side, the early CGI Creeper wing animations have held up exceptionally well, looking great here.
There aren't a large number of extras packed in here. A full audio commentary with director Victor Silva is available, though normally solos aren't as interesting as group sessions. Deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and the original theatrical trailer cover all the standard bases. The shining light of the features is Behind the Peepers, a sizable behinds the scenes featurette, which goes to great lengths to detail every facet of the film's production. Fans of SyFy's Face Off will likely really dig the segments on creature design and costuming.
Anyone who enjoys old school monster movies (or road/revenge flicks), and those who have been waiting to upgrade their VHS copy to digital should totally pick up this Blu-Ray release. Anyone whose DVD library already contains the release from 2002 can likely stand to hold off. Jeepers Creepers released for Blu-Ray on September 11, from MGM.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Saturday Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a horror co-host of two monthly film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA (home of 1958's 'The Blob'): First Friday Fright Nights and Colonial Cult Cinema. You can hear him on awesome podcast You've Got Geek or follow him out onTwitter.
Mania Grade: B-
Staring: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher
Written By: Victor Silva
Directed By: Victor Silva
Original Year of Release: 2001
Blu-ray Release: 2012
Special Features: See Review