Jeepers Creepers Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

Where’d you get those eyes?

Jeepers Creepers came in the post-Scream cycle of observant late ’90s, early ’00s horror which filled with snarky cliches and tributes. A long country road, isolation, quiet small town folk, the finicky car; Jeepers Creepers has them all. Plus, one of the earlier “the cell phone doesn’t work” instances, too.

At the time, the genre entered a self-aware backlash against itself. That’s Scream’s impact, which in its case, whittled the serial killer reveal down to an (bloody) episode of Scooby-Doo. You could see kookiness seep in through Final Destination and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The style which propelled those movies changed and adapted to audience expectations while adding a creative spark the typical horror banalities.

And thus Jeepers Creepers, spoon-fed by a handful of classic creature features (strong links to Thing from Another World included) and prominent ’80s slashers. Old horror, brought into the new. Writer/director Victor Salva mixes the two types into a sharp bit of genre filmmaking. In utilizing brother/sister characters at the core as opposed to nihilistic high school schmucks, he elicits a distinct empathy. Changing and adapting, enough to get by.

Jeepers Creepers motions toward old horror – keep away visible blood.

Although Jeepers Creepers inundates with routine, each trope manifests itself not with humorous wink, but dramatic appeal. The killer, decorated with brimmed hat and tattered black coat, gives predictable chase to these small town residents. Each kill, though done with a specific lack of gore, has flair. Jeepers Creepers motions toward old horror – keep away from visible blood. Show results, elicit fear.

As such, scenes avoid kitsch appeal. They’re goofy only in the sense that a dusty madman enjoys preserving dead bodies and eating faces. Original too is the lore, hokey if delivered with utmost sincerity by bit player Patricia Belcher late into the film. Such timing allows the sense of mystery to hover over each chase. Those rules institute another smart layer, backing away from the dumb teenager routines and instilling specific fate onto the characters.

By opening with a touch of back-and-forth character development as opposed to fawning for rapid bloodshed, Jeepers Creepers has an air of cinematic superiority. While they don’t present with enormous depth, Darry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Philips) have established their status as siblings before the connection is directly made.

As time passes and the killer’s role places keenly into the screenplay, Jeepers Creepers has its hooks in – literally, if we’re being sarcastic. Final shoot-outs and body counts serve as the release, not the core story. Finishing on a hopeless, somber note seems right as much as it opens the inevitable sequel. Jeepers Creepers is about a senseless, quiet killer in a small town living in a rundown house, and still finds its identity.

Jeepers Creepers Blu-ray screen shot 11

Video

Shout/Scream Factory issues the two Jeepers Creepers films in separate collector’s editions, both given two discs and new extras. Mastering work is decent but dated in the first. The print used for Jeepers Creepers shows definite signs of damage. A few notable knicks and scrapes show up on the film stock, some scenes faring worse than others. It’s not consistent.

Carrying the look of a lower resolution master, grain still resolves. Matched with the lagging sharpness, there’s loss of finer detail. Cinematography does waver, although in consideration of the source, there remains detail waiting to be lifted from this movie. Close-ups often perform well even if environments – especially the thick foliage near the house – suffer from imprecision.

Luckily, there are black levels to treat darkness as it should be. While noise becomes a problem late inside the police station, shadows maintain their depth and hide further problems. Depth is appreciable even in lower light which makes up the third act.

Saturation changes in intensity, from bright to dull. As lead characters pull into the creepy house, there’s an immediate drop of intensity. Greens turn from a near neon hue to a faded, reserved tone in one edit. Flesh tones stay neutral and appealing regardless.

Audio

Key ambient and action moments are accentuated in this DTS-HD track, reserved so the effects can elicit a scare or two. Surrounding Trish (and likewise the viewer), cawing crows pass through each speaker. Gunshots make their presence known, whether in the front or surround channels. Early, voices echo through a sewer drain, spreading through the soundfield. It’s difficult to miss Bennett Salvay’s score too, which carries plenty of weight.

What’s missing is low-end support. Even as cars smash into one another, impact feels discarded. The massive killer lacks force in his attacks and threat diminishes as a result.

Extras

The first disc holds two commentaries. Writer/director Victor Salva goes in alone on the first and is joined by stars Justin Long and Gina Philips on the second. Everything else shuffles over to disc 2.

Shout produces a new Now and Then feature, bringing together Salva, producers, and more behind-the-scenes types to discuss the film, from its origins to genre placement. At 37-minutes, the info remains solid, especially Salva’s younger film watching days.

From Critters to Creepers interviews producer Barry Opper, although this 20-minute piece tends to meander before reaching the good stuff. The Town Pyschic tracks down actress Patricia Belcher to chat about her part for 16 minutes. Shout then brings over the DVD-era extras, specifically six featurettes which are certainly dated. Seventeen minutes of deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and promotional materials are left.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process. Patreon supporters were able to access these screens early, view them as .pngs, and gain access to exclusives.