BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
One would have to dig clear through the classic era of Universal Monster Movies in order to find a title that is a Jeepers Creepers equivalent in tone, structure, and suspense. And that’s a good thing. Writer/director Victor Salva explores his love of classic creature features with a horror movie that is actually intelligent and frightening. While most critics dismissed the film at the time of its release, this 2001 production is one of the only films to effectively explore the deeply unsettling monster mythos of the idyllic American Midwest.
On a long ribbon of isolated highway, Trish (Gina Philips) and her brother Darry (Justin Long) drive a 1960 Chevrolet Impala toward home. The two characters are obviously close (and it’s a nice change of pace to the standard boyfriend and girlfriend meet their demise at the horror show in the usual genre flick). Approaching their vehicle at a terrifying speed is a rusty old 1941 Chevy COE. With three long blasts from its demented Viking-like horn, the COE finally passes the Impala. Trish and Darry sigh with relief and continue on their way.
But the tension ratchets up a notch when they later see the Chevy parked next to a boarded up church and its driver (Jonathan Breck), a tall scarecrow-looking figure, tossing bodies into a tunnel stuck into the ground. They slow the car and stare at the bizarre and disturbing scene, getting a good look at the wrapped up bodies and the blood soaking through the sheets. And then they speed off.
Too late, though. The driver catches up with them and forces them off the road as he drives on by. Then, in a noble gesture, they return to the abandoned church with the upended tunnel to see, now that the driver has left them alone, if anyone needs their help before they send in the police.
Their day of terror is only beginning.
Setting the pace of the picture to match the cleverly suspenseful flicks of another era, writer/director Salva pulls off, in an era of one second attention spans, a legitimately ballsy move and actually allows the picture to breathe in the abandoned and bizarre atmosphere of isolation that is inherit in open fields of grain. The first 45-minutes of Jeepers Creepers is classic material. He then effectively creeps us out with legitimate scares instead of typical slasher jumps. You know, the scenes in which closets are opened and cats jump out, startling everyone. No, large parts of Jeepers Creepers are the real thing; playful, clever, and scary as hell.
When Darry explores the long metal pipe and discovers what he later describes to police as a "psycho version of the Sistine Chapel", the tension – thanks to a gnarly production design that is just to the right side of absurd – is borderline unbearable. The reveal of the creature and his artistry is breathtaking in its three stages.
Suspense is paramount for the creature feature to work and, borrowing more than a handful of shots from Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Sugerland Express, and Duel), cinematographer Don E. FauntLeRoy and editor Ed Marx are to be commended for their work on the picture. Even when we see more and more of the monster, its design never ceases to amaze with its splendid details and layers.
Running through the film is a nice layer of humor. Whether from an oddball character like the crazy cat lady (Eileen Brennan) or from the bumbling police force that can’t match wits with an always meddling psychic (Patricia Belcher), the lighter moments happen too quickly to really lift the tension in this 90-minute feature but they don’t go by unnoticed.
Even if the film loses impact and a bit of momentum in the low-lighted police station shootout scene, Jeepers Creepers is a classically-trained monster picture that saves its best scene for the very last. We don’t get a lot of answers about the creature but we get enough to understand that it’s an artist at work which, to me, suggests a bit of autobiographical information from Salvo as the misunderstood monster tucked away in some private room somewhere alone with his work.
MPAA Rating: R for terror violence/gore, language and brief nudity
Runtime: 90 mins
Director: Victor Salva
Writer: Victor Salva
Cast: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck
Tagline: WhAT's EATing you?
Memorable Movie Quote: "You know what it eats and don't you make me tell you!"
Distributor: United Artists
Official Site: http://www.miramax.com/movie/jeepers-creepers/
Release Date: August 31, 2001
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: June 14, 2016
Synopsis: A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature which is on the last day of its ritualistic eating spree.
Available on Blu-ray - June 14, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BD-50)
Region Encoding: Locked to region A
Scream Factory presents Jeepers Creepers with a visual upgrade. The new 2K scan of The Interpositive is a think of rich beauty. Nicely saturated, there’s no dents in its shiny armor. Colors are strong, particularly the opening moments as brother and sister argue on the road to their own undoing. Black levels are clearly defined, too. Important considering the film takes place during the evening hours. Shadows are detailed. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is solid and aggressive.
- Found on the first disc, there are two commentaries. One is brand new and features Writer/Director Victor Salva, Justin Long, and Gina Philips. The other was originally included with MGM’s previous release. The first features Salva and the cast talking about the movie and the second is Salva solo.
Featuring NEW Interviews With Writer/Director Victor Salva, Producer Barry Opper, Director Of Photography Don FauntLeRoy, Editor Ed Marx And Actor Tom Tarantini, this release is worth the double-dipping. They provide the majority of the NEW information about the making of the movie and make the supplemental material an interesting upgrade. As a result, it is also spread across two discs and includes the old supplemental information provided with the previous release. Fans will want to check this out.
- Jeepers Creepers: Then And Now
- From Critters To Creepers – An Interview With Producer Barry Opper
- The Town Psychic – An Interview With Actress Patricia Belcher
- Behind The Peepers: The Making of Jeepers Creepers
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
- Radio Spot