Plot: What’s it about?
Trish (Gina Phillips) was supposed to come from college with her fiance in tow, but instead she is riding home with her brother Darry (Justin Long). A sour turn of events to be sure, but Trish has no desire in talking about the issues and as such, her car ride home is expected to be a total bore, especially with Darry also present. Of course, Darry tries to extract some details to no avail and the trip seems doomed for dullness, until a strange truck pulls up behind them. This is not the typical truck however, as it is massive and covered with rust, as well as having an insane driver, or so it would seem. The nut almost runs them off the road and blares his deafening horn a million times, before passing them and shooting down the road. With that matter behind them, the siblings are shaken up and on edge, but continue to chat and try to relax their nerves. But then they see the truck again, this time as its owner dumps what looks to be bodies down a chute, near an old abandon church complex. Darry convinces Trish to pull over once the truck leaves, to see if someone down the chute needs help, but will this be just the start of a night filled with terror, or a simple case of mistaken vision?
As a fan of horror movies, I have been subjected to all sorts of self aware garbage since the abysmal Scream series, hoping that a normal, straightforward horror film would come along, to set the path back on track. Although Jeepers Creepers is not that holy grail that would return straight horror back to the forefront, it is a step in the right direction, to be sure. It lacks the “sharp” and “self aware” elements that the Scream set so loves, but it does have a lot to offer and audiences responded, as Jeepers Creepers did some solid business. The film has no romance, not much in terms of blood & guts (though some scenes do pack the punch in that area), but it has tension and some great moments of true horror, especially with the film’s opening sequence. The story gets a shade bogged down and some steam is lost as time passes, but it chugs along and never dips too low, resulting in a solid, enjoyable horror picture. So if you’re interested in a good old fashioned horror movie with all the hip, trendy edge left at the door, then Jeepers Creepers is a wise choice, especially with such a lavish treatment here from MGM.
This movie doesn’t have a large cast by any means and most of the time, just two people populate the screen. One of those two people is Gina Phillips, who has limited experience in motion pictures, but sports a decent resume in terms of television projects. She holds herself well in Jeepers Creepers and while she is very attractive, she pushes that to the side and instead focuses more on her character’s persona. I was pleased to see her allowed to garner so much screen time without having to play up her sexuality, since it would have stuck out here. I’m all for sexual driven performances when needed of course, but that wasn’t called for in this production. You can also see Phillips in Telling You, Born into Exile, Living Out Loud, Nailed, The Anarchist’s Cookbook, and Tv’s Ally McBeal. The cast also includes Justin Long (Happy Campers, Galaxy Quest), Eileen Brennan (Texasville, Clue), and Patricia Belcher (The Wood, Molly).
Video: How does it look?
Jeepers Creepers is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition also included on this dual layered disc. As this film was intended to be dark, bathed in shadows, and on the dingy side, I worried about how well it could be moved to DVD, but there was no real need for concern. MGM has drummed up a terrific looking presentation and while it isn’t perfect, it does showcase the film’s visuals in fine form. The black levels look sharp and refined, although some scenes don’t come off as well as others, due to the methods used to create the visuals. Even so, the contrast is well presented here and with the subdued color scheme intact, this is one great looking visual effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t as immersive as I had hoped, but it still packs some dynamic punch, so I am knocking up the score a tad. A few scenes really drive home the impact, with a lot of surround presence and power moments, but on the whole, this is a basic, but effective presentation. The tense atmosphere allows for a little more use of the rear channels, but I expected a much more active track, as far as subtle audio. I never found the mix to be restrained however, as the elements seem to be well placed and executed. No flaws in terms of dialogue at all, as the vocals are razor sharp and never falter in the least. This disc also includes Spanish & French language tracks, as well as subtitles English, French, and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This special edition kicks off with an audio commentary track, in which writer/director Victor Salva provides a solid session. Salva touches upon all sorts of topics, from the genesis of the story to various behind the scenes anecdotes to the cast and beyond, few stones are unturned here. He sometimes slips into doldrums, but on the whole he remains on task and as such, fans of the flick shouldn’t miss this track. Next up is The Making of Jeepers Creepers, which runs about an hour and covers a wide array of topics. I was most interested in the story aspect, the special effects, and the presence of Francis Ford Coppola, but these are just a small portion of the subjects covered in this excellent behind the scenes documentary. This disc also includes a selection of deleted scenes (including alternate opening & ending sequences), a montage of still photos, some talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer.