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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Jeepers Creepers  (2001)

Reviewed for by Dustin Putman

The Film
3.5 Stars
(Release Date: June 14, 2016) – A nasty, ingenious little item that forgoes the glossy style of today's slasher movies for genuine scares and almost non-stop suspense, "Jeepers Creepers" is the best thing to happen to the horror genre since 1999's groundbreaking "The Blair Witch Project." A welcome, gritty throwback to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" era, the film offers up a generous helping of edgy gore and violence to tell the story of two normal, everyday college kids who find themselves inexplicably being stalked by the most vicious, unrelenting psychopath this side of Leatherface.

It's spring break, and siblings Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long) have bypassed the boring freeway to travel home on the backroads of rural America. Following a nasty run-in with a trucker with serious road rage issues, Trish and Darry spot a dark figure getting out of the very same automobile (license plate reading "BEATNGU") a few mile down the road, as it dumps two bloodied, life-sized objects wrapped in sheets down a drain pipe. Making the serious mistake of going back to investigate, Trish and Darry are hurled further and further into a whirlwind of terror as they try, and fail, to escape the cleaver-wielding, trench-coat-wearing, possibly inhuman maniac.

Borrowing its title from the classic 1930s Louis Armstrong song ("Jeepers Creepers/Where'd you get those peepers?/Jeepers Creepers/Where'd you get those eyes?")—a running theme throughout—"Jeepers Creepers" couldn't have come at a more opportune time. A gratifying return to the days when horror movies weren't about selling pop/rock soundtracks and starring the latest television starlets, the picture is unapologetic in its singular goal to scare audiences out of their wits.

Wasting no time in setting up the premise, savvy writer-director Victor Salva (1990's "Clownhouse") quickly hurls our two realistic protagonists, and subsequently the viewer, into a freakish nightmare that can't be woken up from. At a fast, highly appropriate 90 minutes, "Jeepers Creepers" runs at a clip pace that makes each scene all the more ineradicably absorbing and tense. The tight, expert editing by Ed Marx helps to make the goings-on all the more nail-biting.

Virtually a two-character show, Justin Long (1999's "Galaxy Quest") and Gina Philips (1998's "Living Out Loud") make for a believable, charismatic brother-and-sister pair. Credit Salva for choosing to make the protagonists related; it makes the situations they get in all the more real, and does away with the inevitable romantic subplot that usually hinders films of this ilk. Their love-hate relationship is set up with many delightful nuances in the early scenes, as they hold conversations and bicker childishly while driving in the car. Even when arguing, however, it's obvious they love each other as siblings only can. In small roles, Patricia Belcher (2001's "Heartbreakers") is a standout, not to mention subtly funny, as a local psychic who has visions of what is in store for Trish and Darry, while Eileen Brennan (1997's "Changing Habits") memorably plays an ill-fated backwoods local they seek for help. As she describes, she's got "more than a couple" cats.

With atmospheric cinematography by Don E. FauntLeRoy that paints the back country roads as a location you would never want to get stuck on alone, "Jeepers Creepers" cleverly taps into the deep-seated fears everyone has about feeling helpless in the eyes of great danger. And like the excellent dessert that comes after a fine main course, "Jeepers Creepers" saves its most unforgettable image for last—a horrifyingly disturbing, surprisingly touching final shot that courageously proves, once and for all, good does not always prevail in the face of pure evil.

Read Dustin's Theatrical Review

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

A new 2K scan of the inter-positive has been conducted on Scream Factory's lavish Collector's Edition release of "Jeepers Creepers." This is a stunning 1080p presentation, eye-popping in its detail, clarity and dimensionality (just watch the opening scenes as the camera roams around the car with Darry and Trish, seemingly placing the viewer in the vehicle with them). Colors impressively pop, from the yellows of the rural fields to the cooler blues and browns in the Creeper's body-filled underground lair. Black levels are additionally rich and deep. A natural layer of filmic grain appears from time to time, most prominently in nighttime scenes, just as it should. Despite being a 15-year-old film, there aren't any specks, dirt or other age-related issues of note. This transfer, dare it be said, is revelatory. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio provides plenty of sonic jolts and propulsive activity, offering effective surrounds and directionality as the winged Creeper swoops around buildings and cars. The music score and dialogue are exceptionally handled in the mix, with neither one overpowering the other. A 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is also offered.

Blu-ray Features
  • NEW Audio Commentary with writer-director Victor Salva and actors Justin Long and Gina Philips
  • Audio Commentary with writer-director Victor Salva
  • NEW "Jeepers Creepers: Now and Then" Featurette - Interviews with writer/director Victor Salva, director of photography Don FauntLeRoy, editor Ed Marx and actor Tom Tarantini (36:45, HD)
  • NEW "From Critters to Creepers" Featurette - Interview with producer Barry Opper (19:38, HD)
  • NEW "The Town Psychic" Featurette - Interview with actor Patricia Belcher (16:34, HD)
  • "Behind the Peepers" Featurette (1:00:02, HD)
  • Deleted Scenes (17:13, HD)
  • Photo Gallery (7:56, HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:54, HD)
  • Radio Spot (1:00, HD)
Bottom Line
Scream Factory has hit a home run with their two-disc, high-definition Collector's Edition release of "Jeepers Creepers." Packed with quality new special features on top of the previous bonus content from the movie's DVD days, this latest Blu-ray safely renders all previous home-video editions obsolete. As a horror-thriller creature feature, the involving, fittingly creepy "Jeepers Creepers" holds up beautifully—while looking and sounding great, to boot. Highly recommended for all, but if you are a longtime fan of the film, this Blu-ray is a must-buy.

Buy Now at Amazon

© 2016 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman


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