Review Date: May 22, 2002
Released by: MGM
Release date: 12/27/2001
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long) are brother and sister, driving home from college for Spring break. As the two are driving down a long stretch of highway, a beat up old truck starts tailgating them to an extreme. After several tense moments, they manage to swerve out of the truck's way. It promptly passes them and speeds off into the distance. Hours later, Trish and Darry see the same truck at a house along the highway. They see a shadowy man, dressed in black with long grayish hair, standing at the back of the truck. The man is taking, what they believe to be, bodies wrapped in bloddy sheets out of the truck and dumping them into a pipe that leads underground. The man in black calmly watches them go by. When they pass, he gets into the truck and begins chasing them down the highway.
Trish and Darry narrowly escape the truck, only after it rams their car right off the highway. Somehow, Darry convinces Trish into going back to the house to see if what was dumped down the pipe were indeed bodies. And if they are, whether they're still alive and need help. Darry, being the ever so smart one, has Trish hold him by the feet as he climbs into the pipe and tries to get a better look down. Of course, Trish manages to lose her grip and Darry falls below. Darry discovers an unimaginable world of horror in the underground room. Barely holding onto his sanity, Darry manages to find an exit. The the two quickly hightail it out of there to contact the authorities.
The two siblings stop at the next gas station and call the police. During their wait for the police, the pay phone rings and Darry answers it. A strange woman explains to Darry that she dreamt of the truck with the "BEATINGYOU" license plate, that whatever was driving the truck will not stop once it gets your scent, and that if they hear the song "Jeepers Creepers", they had better run, fast! The police arrive and they agree to check the house out. Before they leave, something breaks into Trish's car. Whatever it was, it got a good sniff at Darry's dirty laundry. Darry's scent has been picked up by whatever was driving the truck, and it won't stop searching or chasing until it has him.
You know a horror movie is good when after you've viewed it, you have dreams about finding bloody bodies wrapped in sheets (so I'm sick, so what?). You REALLY know a horror movie is going to be good when your significant other makes you shut it off after 15 minutes. Yeah, I had to wait until my wife fell asleep to review this one. Jeepers Creepers is a welcome change from the other "horror" movies released during this screamy bopper craze we're all suffering through (I pray this movie marks an end to that era!). I missed Jeepers Creepers during its theatrical release, which I regret even more now that I've seen it on DVD. There's so much about this movie that is good, but it does have several faults. Where to start? I'll try to tread lightly here and not spoil anything.
The brother/sister relationship between Trish and Darry is portrayed perfectly. There's no lovey dovey stuff, just the typical teasing one would expect from a brother and sister. And behind that teasing are occasional glimpses of love and concern for one another. Convincing the viewer of that relationship is key, especially in Jeepers Creepers where the brother and sister are the two central characters. When you can relate to the character and feel like you know them, you care for the character. When you care for the character and worry over the danger they are in, you become captivated by the movie. Which, in turn, makes the movie that much more interesting and, hopefully, entertaining.
Behind the shadowy man is both a creepy and effective villain. Effective because he remains both mysterious and scary throughout the movie. You wonder what this man is, and what he is up to. As the movie progresses you get little bits and bits of answers, but the answers aren't always enough. It helps that there aren't any cheesy one-liners (sorry Freddy, Chucky, etc.), no long, stupid phone calls (sorry 'Ghost Face'), and no overkill of the "If we were in a horror movie..." line (sorry Scream). You see what I'm getting at. The best villan is often a silent villan. A villan where you don't necessarily know what his or her intentions are, or even what they themselves really are. Relating to the victims makes you care for them. Relating to the villan, or becoming annoyed by their stupid one-liners, makes them less effective in scaring the viewer.
I like the story, written by director Victor Salva, as a whole. There is mystery, suspense, decent character development for the limited amount of screen time devoted to establishing it, and some good scares. So what about the faults? My primary complaint is with the middle of the movie. Now, I've read some reader comments on the movie and I know I'm not alone in this complaint. The first 45 minutes are terrific - you are on the edge of your seat in suspense and fear. After that, though, the movie just drags on for 30 minutes. 30 minutes that are, for the most part, boring and unnecessary. At the 45 minute mark, I was thinking that the movie could and should end in about 5 or 10 minutes. It really seemed to me that the middle was essentially time filler to get the running length up to 1.5 hours. It's not all downhill after the 45 minute mark, though. The ending is perfect - it couldn't be better. I loved it, and that's all I'm going to say about it.
Other minor complaints are Justin Long's performance as Darry. His expressions of shock and horror are overacted, and his voice is a little too whiney for my tastes. On the other hand, Gina Philips was perfect as Trish. She portrayed the "don't fuck with me" sort of attitude to perfection. And what's with this strange woman making the phone call? She's really not needed in the movie. Yeah yeah, she's there to help explain some things, but I found her annoying and a bit confusing more than anything else. But those complaints are minor. My main gripe is with the slowdown in the middle. Even with that gripe, Jeepers Creepers is a terrific horror movie that will be enjoyed by many genre fans sick of the screamy bopper movies we've been inundated with.
The Jeepers Creepers DVD contains an anamorphic widescreen transfer in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is terrific overall; I was only able to come up with a few minor complaints. The image is clean and blemish free, remaining consistently sharp throughout the presentation. No compression artifacts were visible, but there are several scenes with light grain. Colors are somewhat subdued overall, except for blacks which were nice and solid. Nighttimes scenes are rather dark, but I'm certain that is intentional as it builds the appropriate atmosphere for in the movie. A fine transfer done by MGM on this one. I'm rating it with a B+.
The primary soundtrack is presented Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Surrounds and LFE are effectively used, helping to add some nice suspense to the viewing experience. Overall I was pleased with the track and found no particular complaints with it. Dialogue remains clear and audible; no distortion of any sort was heard. Also included are French and Spanish stereo surround tracks, as well as english, french, and spanish subtitles.
MGM released Jeepers Creepers as a special edition DVD, and it certainly lives up to the label. There are quite a few supplements on the disc, which are spread over two sides. First up is a commentary track with the director and writer of Jeepers Creepers, Victor Salva. It's an interesting and informative commentary with only a handful of short gaps of silence. Salva discusses many aspects of filmmaking, including the story, the actors, cameo appearances, the score, technical aspects, studio issues, and much more. Fans of the movie should enjoy the track quite a bit. I know I did.
Side two of the DVD contains the bulk of the extras. First is "Behind the Peepers" - A Collection of 6 Mini-Featurettes that run about 59 minutes total. You have the ability to watch them all together or watch an individual one. I like how they start the featurette off with a warning that the featurettes contain spoilers - good move on MGM's part. The 6 mini-featurettes are titled: Finding Trish and Darry, Designing the Creeper, Cars and Trucks, The Creeper Comes to Florida, Night Shoots, and Composed by Bennett Salva. The title of each featurette gives you an idea of what the focus is for that featurette. In each featurette, various members of the cast and crew discuss the topic at hand. Various clips from the movie and behind-the-scenes footage are shown during the interviews. Each featurette run roughly 10 minutes in length. They're all enjoyable; I particularly enjoyed the featurettes and behind-the-scenes footage that focused on the special effects and make-up work.
Ten deleted scenes are included on the disc. Most are just extended or slightly altered versions of existing scenes from the movie. In a few of them, I couldn't even tell the difference in terms of what was altered or extended when compared to the theatrical scenes. I enjoyed seeing the 'original ending' deleted scene, but I definitely prefer the theatrical ending. Also, the video quality on these deleted scenes is rather poor; colors are completely washed out.
Topping off the supplements are a photo gallery containing dozens of stills from the movie, and trailers for Jeepers Creepers, Hannibal, Silence of the Lambs: Special Edition DVD, The Terminator: Special Edition DVD, and Carrie: Special Edition DVD. Between the commentary track and the featurettes, MGM has given fans some great extras that they are sure to enjoy.
MGM has given Jeepers Creepers fans a top notch DVD to add to their collections. The transfer is above average and there are hours worth of enjoyable supplements for fans to go through. For those that haven't seen Jeepers Creepers, I highly recommend it. It's a breath of fresh air after suffering through the screamy bopper era. Don't be turned off by the lack of detail in my story outline. I purposed left it vague so as to not spoil anything. Give it a rental or, better yet, just buy this DVD. You won't regret it.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - B+
Sound - A-
Supplements - B+
- Running Time - 1 hour 30 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital 5.1
- French Stereo Surround
- Spanish Stereo Surround
- English, French, and Spanish subtitles
- Audio Commentary with Director Victor Salva
- "Behind the Peepers" - A Collection of 6 Mini-Featurettes
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Other Trailers
- Photo Gallery