Review by Michael Jacobson
Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Eileen Brennan
Director: Victor Salva
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1, Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 90 Minutes
Release Date: January 8, 2002
they ever wrong?”
your dreams ever wrong?”
told you…you don't understand…”
as a genre never goes away; it merely lies dormant for periods of time.
Every decade, it seems, has at least one picture that awakens the art
form, before putting it to sleep again by countless imitations and repetitive
Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream…you get the idea.
have been just the film to revitalize horror for the first decade of the new
millennium. I think it fell just a
little short, but it came damn close.
It's a picture with enough freshness mixed with comfortable stand-bys,
a terrific pair of young actors, a memorable villain, and an extraordinary sense
of style that mixes the best of low budget and pop horror for an effectively
creepy and entertaining film.
Victor Salva created a movie with some surprises and genuine scares, with
occasional flashes of Hitchcockian suspense.
It's clear he's a lover of movies, and the enthusiasm he brings to
the project is apparent and appealing.
a long stretch of empty country road, two sibling college students Trisha
(Philips) and Darry (Long) are on their way home from spring break.
The dialogue is real and winning in these opening moments, and both
characters are instantly likable. Which
is good, because our emotional involvement goes a long way in adding to the
potency of the story.
tread carefully here, because the less you know going in, the better…an
unpleasant encounter on the road with a vile looking truck begins a series of
events that grow more and more horrific as the plot unfolds.
A long shot of a shadowy figure dropping something down a sewage
pipe…is it a dead body? Young protagonists should never question these things, much
less investigate, and Trisha knows better.
“You know how in scary movies someone's always doing something stupid
to make everybody hate them?” she asks her brother. “This is that part.”
they find is chilling and unsettling…and only the beginning.
What starts out looking like a simple but well-styled slasher picture
turns, in fact, into a monster story.
love horror films, and there's much about Jeepers Creepers that I both
instinctively responded to and liked. Salva
is imaginative, but he's not shy about wearing his influences on his sleeve.
If you recognize a homage or two to the likes of Duel, Night of the
Living Dead…maybe even a little Clash of the Titans, enjoy them.
His script was a good jumping-off point, but even better is his camera
work, which sometimes builds suspense in David Lean ways…like a speck on the
horizon that grows quickly into something sinister, for example.
the words and images, however, there seemed to be missing a strong cohesive
thread holding everything together. It's
not bland characters, as is often the case…as mentioned, the two young leads
are first rate, and their parts are surprisingly well written for this type of
film…nor is it the lack of a viable opponent.
It's one of those frustrating intangibles…maybe the villain's
motivations were too neatly revealed in exposition and not convincing enough.
Maybe the picture just simply tried to blend the best of the realistic
and the supernatural, and managed to end up with the implausible…you can't
ground yourself too much and still expect to be believed when you reach for
stars. I never fully suspended my
disbelief, and that robbed some of the picture of its effectiveness.
the film serves its purpose…it offers a few good scares and a number of images
that will linger in your brain long after.
That truck, for example, is the scariest looking vehicle I've ever seen
on screen, and it's only the start of the images this picture has in store.
True horror fans will definitely like this movie.
fair-weather horror fans, however, may pass on it, and unfortunately, those are
the ones that determine whether or not a new scare flick will be the genre's
next big thing or not. So consider Jeepers
Creepers a very worthwhile effort…but not a Halloween for the
mentioned the film blends elements of low and high budget horror films, and part
of that seems inherent in the picture. The
anamorphic transfer (full frame also included) is good, yet the images range
from the scrappy to the downright expressionistic.
Some scenes are pedestrian in terms of lighting, others are so carefully
crafted as to be pure poster shots. There
is a bit of dinginess to the print in the opening shots…surprising for a new
film, but overall, the images and colors are well rendered, with only a touch of
softness here and there…again, seemingly replicating the look of a 16 mm lower
budgeted film. Night scenes, of
which there are many, look great, and serve Salva's visual manipulations
is a selectively good 5.1 track, inasmuch as it keeps much of the audio front
and center for dialogue and simpler scenes.
During bigger moments, both stages open, with good use of discreet
signals and a more atmospheric, open feel to the music and effects.
The subwoofer gets plenty of work…there seems to be a lot of low,
rumbling tones that don't always equate to something on screen, but keep an
eerie presence to the audio throughout.
one includes a commentary track from writer/director Salva…an entertaining,
informative and good all-around listen. He
has an ease of speaking and a film lovers' sense of enthusiasm, so he seems to
naturally always talk about what we most want to hear.
There are also talent files on this side.
other features are on side two, which contains a lengthy and detailed
documentary, “Behind the Peepers”. It's
broken up in to easily accessible chapters, and features everything from cast
and crew interviews to creature design, from choice of cars to effects shots and
more. There are also 10 deleted or
extended scenes, including a longer opening and a different (and not as
effective) ending. There is also a
photo gallery. A very nice and