Jeepers Creepers (2001) / Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Director: Victor Salva
Starring: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck & Eileen Brennan / Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Eric Nenninger, Nicki Aycox & Luke Edwards
Released by: Scream Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Knowing precisely what’s eating horror fans, Scream Factory, the horror/cult offshoot of Shout! Factory, presents the definitive home video releases of Director Victor Salva’s (Powder) modern monster features! In Jeepers Creepers, siblings Trish (Gina Philips, Chained) and Darry (Justin Long, Tusk) are nearly ran off a desolate highway road only to later investigate what they believe are bodies being disposed of down a sewer pipe. Literally biting off more than they can chew, the terrified teens find themselves targeted by a mysterious monster with a scent for fear. Next up, Jeepers Creepers 2 centers on a broken down school bus transporting a team of high school athletes who have just become the Creeper’s newest course of flesh. Testing their fears and own loyalty to one another, the team must stick together in order to survive the final night of the monster’s feeding cycle.
Debuting at the tail end of the waining slasher movie cycle, Jeepers Creepers is a consummately constructed ode to the monster movies of yesteryear with an antagonist that appropriately remains shrouded in the shadows and free of a deconstructive backstory. Headlined by up and comers Gina Philips and Justin Long, the rural set shriekfest wisely makes the leads brother and sister in order to shatter the predictable lovers in peril scenario with the film’s focus prominently placed on their fear of what’s stalking them. From a tense road game between the traveling teens and an eerie high-speed truck, Jeepers Creepers submerges viewers into the grim underworld of its monster as Trish and Darry foolishly investigate their attackers homestead only to discover a mausoleum of death. Seeking salvation from the proper authorities, the unsuspecting officers are no match for what awaits them, ultimately leaving the siblings to fend for themselves. Excellently performed by Jonathan Breck (Everybody Wants Some!!) while doused in impressive makeup design work, the mysterious otherworldly creature packs a sufficiently scary presence with only its computer-generated wingspan showing its age. Sniffing out the desirable scent of fear, the film’s climax at a blacked-out police station welcomes several opportunities for jump scares and a tense conclusion that surprisingly doesn’t include a celebratory moment of relief for its survivors. A box-office smash during its original release, Jeepers Creepers was a refreshing jolt of fear during a time when the genre found itself scatterbrained yet again. Aging gracefully with a simplistic story that makes terror its central priority, Jeepers Creepers still entertains accordingly.
Emerging two years after its predecessors instant success and downward slide following the September 11th attacks, Jeepers Creepers 2 returns to the scene with its terrorizing monster hungry for seconds. Following the attack and abduction of his young son, Jack Taggart Sr. (Ray Wise, RoboCop), vows to take vengeance on the winged creature responsible. Juxtaposing to the final day of the creature’s last eating cycle for the next 23 years, a school bus of athletes are stranded on a backcountry highway with jealousy, racial tension and homophobia tearing them apart. As nightfall comes, the Creeper sets his sights on the tattered bus, sniffing out his potential victims in what proves to be the longest night of the students’ young lives. With a larger budget and a bigger cast, Jeepers Creepers 2 follows common sequel tropes by increasing the body count and action set pieces yet, lacking the more intimate punch of its originator. In addition, although Justin Long returns in a ghostly dream sequence warning clairvoyant cheerleader Minxie (Nicki Aycox, Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead) of the doom awaiting her friends, the lack of former lead Gina Philips also returning greatly disappoints while, the current crop of characters are mostly unlikeable and almost always out for themselves. Fortunately, the Creeper is far more high-powered in his latest outing, taking to the skies more frequently and serving up an especially fun decapitation via wing. Restraining the cast to the enclosed school bus for the bulk of its runtime backfires as the thrills decrease with each passing minute while, Ray Wise’s revenge plot, awesomely carried out by a makeshift harpoon, arrives much later than anticipated. Exceeding the box-office performance of the original film, Jeepers Creepers 2 proved there was more bite left in the franchise with plans for a third movie still being touted. While the Creeper truly comes into greater form in the sequel and allows for a larger playing field for its action, Jeepers Creepers 2 ultimately lacks the tighter eeriness of its first effort.
Previously released in high-definition by MGM, Scream Factory presents both films with 1080p transfers, sporting 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 aspect ratios respectively. With the original film bearing a new 2K scan of the interpositive, the sunny, rural exteriors appear even more lush than before while, skin tones are topnotch and black levels appear sharply inky with only fleeting instances of speckling. Meanwhile, its sequel, presumably carrying its originally released transfer, remains equally as pleasing. Equipped with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixes, each film makes dialogue prioritized for maximum clarity while, the films suspenseful scores and emphasis on gunshots and expected screams give tremendous rise to their designated sequences. Furthermore, both film comes equipped with optional DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mixes as well.
Joining the ranks of Scream Factory’s lauded Collector’s Editions, Jeepers Creepers arrives with a new Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Victor Salva and Stars Gina Philips & Justin Long plus, a vintage Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Victor Salva. Located on the original film’s second disc, Jeepers Creepers: Then and Now (36:45) is a newly recorded look back at the film, its making and continued impact with new insight from Writer/Director Victor Salva, Producer Barry Opper, Director of Photography Don FauntLeRoy, Editor Ed Marx and Actor Tom Tarantini. Also included, From Critters to Creepers with Barry Opper (19:38) sits down with the film’s producer as he discusses his career highlights leading up to Salva’s monster movie including work on Android and the Critters franchise. Next up, The Town Psychic with Patricia Belcher (16:34) catches up with the film’s clairvoyant character and how she landed the role while, Behind the Peepers: The Making of Jeepers Creepers (59:02) is ported over from its previous release alongside Deleted Scenes (17:13), a Photo Gallery (7:56), the Theatrical Trailer (1:54), a Radio Spot (1:00) and Reversible Cover Art featuring the film’s original 1-sheet design rounding the abundance of special features.
Surprisingly more packed than the previous film, Jeepers Creepers 2 kicks off disc 1 with an Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Victor Salva and Stars Eric Nenninger, Josh Hammon, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Marieh Delfino, Garikayi Mutambirwa & Shaun Fleming. In addition, a second Audio Commentary with Actor Jonathan Breck, Production Illustrator Brad Parker & Special Effects Makeup Artist Brian Penikas is also included. Located on its second disc, Jeepers Creepers 2: Then and Now (22:34) finds Writer/Director Victor Salva, Producer Barry Opper, Director of Photography Don FauntLeRoy, Editor Ed Marx and Actor Tom Tarantin returning to discuss the success of the original film and the steps to produce a sequel of equal worth. Next up, A Father’s Revenge with Ray Wise (15:20) captures a newly recorded sit-down with Wise on his involvement in the project and his love for horror while, Don’t Get off the Bus! (20:52) finds Actors Tom Tarantini, Thom Gossom Jr. and Diane Delano also reminiscing on their experiences. Vintage supplements ported over include, A Day in Hell: A Look at the Filming of Jeepers Creepers 2 (26:43), Light, Camera, Creeper: The Making of Jeepers Creepers 2 (14:23), Creeper Creation (11:29), Jeepers Creepers 2: The Orphanage Visual Effects Reel (5:23) and Creeper Composer (9:26) featuring interviews with Composer Bennett Salvay and Writer/Director Victor Salva. Finally, Storyboards (5:35), Deleted Scenes (15:51), two Photo Galleries (15:37), the Theatrical Trailer (2:13) and a Reversible Cover Art sporting the original 1-sheet design concludes the extensive bonus features.
Separating the art and scandal of its creator, Writer/Director Victor Salva’s twosome of creepy efforts gave modern audiences a new and effectively realized monster of their own. While the original Jeepers Creepers may be imperfect in its own right, its smaller-scale and mysterious aura of its antagonist makes it the preferred feature to its bigger budgeted and increasingly tiresome sequel. Making previously available releases virtually unneeded, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Editions are a treasure trove of high quality with their expansive special features requiring two discs to be contained. Topped off with phenomenal new cover designs by fan-favorite artist Justin Osbourn (Phantom of the Paradise), both releases will surely fill up hungry horror fans.
Jeepers Creepers RATING: 4/5
Jeepers Creepers 2 RATING: 3.5/5
Available June 14th from Scream Factory, Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2 can be purchased via ShoutFactory.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.