Featured Blu-ray Review: Jeepers Creepers
Jeepers Creepers is a low-budget horror film that was released on Labor Day long weekend back in 2001. Most people were not expecting it to be a huge hit. However, it broke the record for big Labor Day long weekend box office. Granted, at the time that record was just $13.11 million / $15.83 million and the film did fall more than 50% the following weekend. It still did well enough to warrant a sequel. (On a side note, this sequel also broke the Labor Day long weekend box office record.) Now it is making its Blu-ray debut more than a decade later, but can it live up to its record-breaking opening? Or was it for for a time merely the best of the worst long weekend of the year? And does it shine on Blu-ray? Or is it hampered by a low budget and a lack of attention by the studio?
The film begins with two siblings, Darry and Trish driving along a nearly deserted road while on their way back from spring break. It's been a long drive and they've run out of things to talk about, at least things Trish is willing to talk about, and trying to decode custom license plates only works when there are other cars on the road. It looks like it's going to be a really boring drive.
That changes when an ominous truck pulls up behind them while they are on the road. It gets really close while they are not paying attention and then honks its horn and swerves in a very menacing fashion. Is it trying to pass them? Is is trying to run them off the road? Is it just trying to scare them for cheap thrills? Whatever it wanted, Darry and Trish are glad when it drives away. Later when they see the same truck parked near an abandoned church, they see the driver as well. He's dumping something into a pipe near the church. Something wrapped and tied in bedsheets with red stains on it. They do the right thing and try to get the hell out of there, but it is too late and they are again chased by the driver. After they are driven off the road, Darry wants to turn around and investigate the church. Perhaps what they saw really was a person and perhaps they are still alive and are in need of a rescue. At first Trish refuses, but eventually relents.
What they find at the bottom of the pipe is, well, it's a spoiler, but after a close getaway, they decide to do the smart thing and call the police. Without a phone, they drive till they reach the nearest diner and ask them to call. While they are waiting for the police to arrive, the payphone next to them rings. It's for them. The woman knows who they are and tells them whatever it is that is after them won't stop once it has their scent. She warns them about a song, "Jeepers Creepers" and if they hear it to run. Finally, the police show up. Unfortunately, the police don't believe Darry; Trish doesn't believe Darry, so you can't really blame them. They start to believe Darry after some of the diners see someone at their car, sniffing Darry's laundry.
The two cops head over to the old church, with Darry and Trish driving ahead of them. But before they can get there, they each hear something on the radio. The cops hear that the old church was burnt down. The siblings hear a modern rendition of "Jeepers Creepers" on the radio. What happens next is way into spoiler territory.
Jeepers Creepers earned 45% positive reviews, but I think that's a little low, but close. The film starts out really well with Justin Long and Gina Philips doing a really good job establishing their characters as brother and sister. The tension is built up expertly with the first appearance of that truck. This mood builds very well and as the film continues, we learn enough about the mythology of The Creeper to be engaged. However, while the film does so much right in the beginning, the film devolves into rather standard horror movie clichés in the second half. We needed more mystery and more mood, with less monster. Once the monster is full on screen, it loses some of its effectiveness.
That said, more works that doesn't and while Jeepers Creepers isn't a classic, it is still better than most in the genre.
The Blu-ray is shovelware, but there are a lot of extras found on the Blu-ray. There's an audio commentary track with the writer / director, Victor Salva. Up next is an hour-long making of featurette. There are also 17 minutes of deleted scenes, 8 minutes of images, and finally there's a a very short look at the director's cameo.
The Blu-ray doesn't look great, but it did cost just $10 million to make ten years ago, so you can't expect a visual feast. There's not a lot of details here and many of the shots are a little too soft. This is especially true of the many, many darker scenes. On the other hand, there are some scenes that have strong details. It's the inconsistency that's the problem. It is not a pristine print and I noticed a white spec or two, but nothing distracting. There are no compression issues or signs of digital manipulation. The audio is a little better, with good use of the surround sound speakers, but it is not an overly complicated soundtrack.
Finally we get to the price. It only costs $8 on Amazon.com. You can't complain about that.
Jeepers Creepers starts out really good and it looks like it could be amazing, but the second half of the film is filled with clichés. The Blu-ray is shovelware, but it's $8, so it is hard to complain about that.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2012-10-05