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Jeepers Creepers (Collector's Edition)

    Ian Jane

  • Jeepers Creepers (Collector's Edition)

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: June 14th, 2016.
    Director: Victor Salva
    Cast: Justin Long, Gina Philips, Jonathan Breck
    Year: 2001
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    The Movie:

    2001 was not a banner year for horror movies but Jeepers Creepers, directed by Victor Salva and executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola, managed to do pretty decent box office numbers and spawn a sequel (with a third film still on the books). Without wanting to get into the controversy surrounding Salva's conviction as a child molester on the set of his film Clownhouse, and hoping to evaluate the movie on its own merits, how does it hold up?

    When the film begins, two teenagers - Trish Jenner (Gina Philips) and her brother Darry (Justin Long) - are on their way home for spring break. Their travels take them through a rural part of Florida where a massive, rusty old truck tries to run them off the road. Once that's over and done with, they notice shortly after the same truck parked near an abandoned old church. Here they spy a hulking man decked out in a long coat and hat dumping what looks like a body down an old pipe. The stranger sees their car pass by and he clearly recognizes them. At this point he hops back into his truck for round two but they escape once again. Despite the fact that they've almost been killed twice at this point, Darry talks Trish into heading back to the church so they can investigate. He insists on trying to look down the pipe to see the body but she loses her grip on his feet and he falls down there. When he lands, he quickly realizes there's not just a body, but seemingly hundreds of bodies all stashed below. He makes it out and they get out of there as quickly as they can. They head into town to talk to the cops, but soon enough that thing they saw dumping the body down the pipe reveals its true nature and starts killing off anything that gets in its way…

    Jeepers Creepers does quite a few things right, but so too does it do quite a few things wrong. First, the good - the two principal characters are likeable and we get to know them enough from their conversations to care enough about what happens to them. Long comes off as a nice guy, and Philips just as well-meaning and, for lack of a better adjective, nice. In a genre where so many teenage characters exist solely as slasher fodder, these two are a bit more than that and given that pretty much the entirety of the movie hinges on making us care about what they're going to be put through, it's important that the film was able to pull this off. Additionally, there are some great sets and effects work scattered throughout the scene. The moment where Darry wakes up in the basement full of bodies is eerie and effective. There are some great shots of the creature set against a pitch black night sky that give the movie some welcome atmosphere. It's got a nice southern gothic thing going on for much of its running time, aided immensely by some great location photography, that helps make the film visually more interesting than it would have been otherwise.

    The bad? Well, the characters in this movie fall victim to the same dumb decisions that characters in countless other horror movies make. The most obvious one (which sets everything off) being Darry's insistence that his sister help him get down the drain pipe. Given that they've almost been killed twice by this 'person' you'd have to be a complete fool to want to try this. Yet there he goes, making exactly the wrong move and in doing so, making it a bit tough to suspend our disbelief. The film also plays its trump card - that being the monster itself - way too early and way too often. While the creature is cool looking in a 'big winged lizard man' sort of way, putting him front and center in the middle of the frame drenched in light takes a lot of the mystery out of his presence. Sometimes things are better left in the shadows and the antagonist in this picture works better when we don't see him fully exposed. The makeup effects that bring him to life work nicely, that's never an issue, but sometimes less is more.

    Ultimately, the movie is fun. It's an enjoyable monster movie with some good kill scenes and creative murder set pieces with some very nice cinematography and good use of sound. The pacing is strong and it's well put together on a technical level. You could definitely do a lot worse than this one. Jeepers Creepers is a fun time killer.


    Jeepers Creepers gets a second Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory with a new transfer taken from a '2K Scan Of The Interpositive' presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.85.1. The film's grain structure remains intact here, there's no evidence of noise reduction or any sort of filtering nor are there any issues with edge enhancement. Some minor print damage shows up here and there but it's not a big deal and the color reproduction is handled well here, though it should be noted that the movie is quite dark and relies on a lot of drab looking earth tones, so it never really pops the way a more colorful film would. Skin tones look pretty natural, black levels are good and detail and texture consistently surpass what DVD could ever offer. As to how it compares to MGM's Blu-ray release from a few years ago, there are noticeable improvements in both the amount of detail evident in the picture and in the color reproduction. This still won't wow you with super bright primaries, it was never meant to, but colors are better defined this time around. Detail and texture both advance over the picture quality on the previous release and this is just a more robust, better looking image in every way.

    The main option on this disc is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix with subtitles provided in English. Surrounds are used well here, and quite frequently, to offer up some fun jump scares. Bass response is very strong but never quite buries the dialogue and the sound effects are mixed in nicely. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the score sounds good, its spread out very effectively into the surround channels at a few key points to nice effect. This is a pretty solid mix, overall, with some nice directional effects and strong range. A DTS-HD 2.0 track is also provided.

    Extras on the first disc in this set begin with a new audio commentary with writer/director Victor Salva and cast members Justin Long and Gina Philips. These guys get along pretty well here and seem to be having a good time revisiting their work on the picture. There's talk of the sets and effects, how and why they wound up acting in the picture, their thoughts on what makes some of the more intense scenes in the movie work, what it was like on set and quite a bit more. Also included here is the original commentary from Salva who speaks quite candidly about making this picture, where some of the ideas came from, the locations, the effects and what it was like working with the cast and crew that he assembled for the film. The tracks inevitably cover some similar ground and the new track is the more engaging of the two simply because the cast members are involved, but there's no reason not to include the legacy solo track for posterity's sake!

    The second disc in this set is where the rest of the supplements are found, starting with an all new featurette entitled Jeepers Creepers: Then And Now. This is made up of interviews with Salva, Producer Barry Opper, Director Of Photography Don FauntLeRoy, Editor Ed Marx And Actor Tom Tarantini. This runs just a few minutes short of the forty minute mark and it's well put together. Again, some of what is covered here is also covered in the commentary but this well rounded piece covers the locations used for the film, some of the effects work, Salva's directing style, Coppola's involvement in the picture, changes that had to be made during the production as it was nearing completion and a fair bit more. Opper pops up again in his own featurette, also new to this release, called From Critters To Creepers. This twenty minute piece sees him share some stories from throughout his career, starting with his early days working on the Critters movies through to more recent fare like the Jeepers Creepers movies and covering a lot of ground in between. Patricia Belcher pops up in another new featurette, Town Psychic, which spends sixteen minutes with the actress as she discusses her involvement in the film, the character she plays in the picture and how she wound up in this movie in the first place.

    Carried over from the last release is the Behind The Peepers documentary, which spends just under an hour interviewing the cast and crew and showing off some nice behind the scenes footage. There are also ten deleted scenes here, totaling about seventeen-minutes of material. Rounding out the extras is a still gallery, a radio spot, and a theatrical trailer. Both disc offer menus and chapter selection is included for the feature on the first disc.

    Both discs fit inside a standard size Blu-ray keepcase that contains reversible cover art with Shout!'s newly commissioned artwork on one side and the original poster art on the flip side. This fits inside a cardboard slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Fans of the film ought to be happy with the upgrade offered by Shout Factory's Collector's Edition Blu-ray reissue of Jeepers Creepers. The transfer is noticeably improved over the previous MGM release and there are plenty of new extras here to accompany those that have been carried over from past releases. As to the movie itself? It's a decent enough monster movie with some cool kills, some nice atmosphere and a couple of decent performers. A fun popcorn movie, no more, no less - and there's nothing wrong with that. This makes for fun entertainment and this Blu-ray release is absolutely the best way to enjoy it.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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