Jeepers Creepers (Blu-ray)
Directed by Victor Salva
Distributed by MGM
Ohh, but I can remember watching this for the first time. It was late at night, after hours at the theatre I work at. I’d just stitched the film together, reel by reel, using a splicer and zebra tape (the way films were intended to be built - not with hard drives and touchscreens, dammit!). I’d heard practically nothing about the film, and harbored little interest in seeing it (strange, as I usually look forward to most genre offerings, especially those I get paid to preview). All the same, I got the film threaded and running by just after midnight, as I settled into the theatre’s largest auditorium to hopefully enjoy this new horror flick with the very odd title.
I fell in love with it. The story, the villain, the acting, the unrelenting pace…I thought it was just superb. I still do. And now, all these years (and one DVD release) later, MGM has released Jeepers Creepers to Blu-ray, along with hi-def reissues of Killer Klowns from Outer Space and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Before we get into whether or not the Blu is worth the price of an upgrade, a (likely unnecessary) plot recap:
Brother and sister Darry and Trish (Long and Phillips, both great) are road tripping through Florida, making their way back home from college during spring break . The two siblings chat, bicker, and play road games (”Gay fever!”) to pass the time, until a massive, rusty Hate Machine on Wheels bears down on them, nearly running them off the road while blaring its Doom Horn.
The two shaken teens let the Kill Car pass them, then get back to business as usual…until they later see the driver – dubbed The Creeper, and played with perfect menace by Breck - parked at a church, dumping what appears to be a wrapped body down a pipe (spoiler - it is a wrapped body being dumped down a pipe). Drew and Nancy let the deranged motorist leave, then investigate for themselves, finding not only a body, but a grisly discovery that will lead them afoul of a killer who may not be human (spoiler - he’s not human).
Eighty some minutes of super-creepy, super-intense cat-and-mousiness ensue, featuring a unique monster, fantastic set pieces, and an uncompromising ending that’s as downbeat as it is inevitable. I really adore this movie, and hope that the long-rumored trilogy capper will takes its cues from this more chilling installment, rather than its louder, more action-packed follow-up (which I still kinda dug – Ray Wise rules!).
My enjoyment of the film aside, it’s time now for the big question – is this title worth the upgrade from DVD to Blu? Yes. While the bonus features are simply ported over from the previous release, and the new cover art is just atrocious (a hallmark of the three recent MGM genre Blus), the image and audio are superior enough to warrant the double-dip. That’s assuming you’re a fan of the film, of course.
The image is the standout here, which is a significant improvement over the previous DVD release. The image is as sharp as one would want, with mostly solid blacks, vibrant colors, and only the occasional bit of noise. Film grain is fairly noticeable at times, but this only adds to the charm of the film’s gritty look (hey, better that than a scrubbed, plastic-y image, y’know?). Overall, this Blu-ray reminded me of how good this film looked in theatres eleven years ago. Eleven! Geez, I’m old. Actually, hell, this Blu-ray may look better than the film did in theatres.
The audio is equally great, with a DTS HD 5.1 track that does a great job of reproducing the film’s aggressive sound design. Just you try not to glance over your shoulder at the sound of cawing crows, or cower behind your sofa during any moment featuring the Creeper’s roaring Hell Truck. I dare you.
Again, though, the bonus features section is left a bit wanting, at least for new material. While there are features aplenty brought over from the DVD, a new commentary or a retrospective featurette would have been appreciated. Still, what we are left with is quite decent. There is an audio commentary with director Salva, a still photo gallery set to Bennett Salvay’s kickass score, a set of deleted and extended scenes (including an interesting alternate ending), and the original theatrical trailer, which was far too spoilery in my opinion. In addition, there is also a brief bit highlighting Salva’s cameo, and “Behind the Peepers”, a collection of making-of featurettes that can be watched separately or as a one-hour documentary.
If you hate this flick, or even if you aren’t too terribly fond of it, this new Blu is gonna be a definite pass for you. Keep the DVD and be content, if you even own it at all. But for those of you who enjoyed this flick as much as I, it’s well worth plunking down the cash for this upgrade. Now let’s just hope that MGM takes as much time and care with the inevitable Creepers 2 Blu.
4 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5