Like the monster at the heart of the film, Victor Salva's Jeepers Creepers is made of borrowed parts from horror movies past. And like the Creeper, all of those borrowed parts are combined into a gruesome, but brutally efficient whole, one part Duel, with a little bit of Terminator, of all things thrown in at the end, and all sorts of creature feature nods strewn throughout, without showing the seams too much.
Revisiting the movie 11 years later on MGM/Fox's recently-released Blu-ray, Jeepers Creepers still holds a lot of the power it did over a decade ago thanks in large part to its ability to morph and change styles during its brisk 90-minute running time.
If you haven't seen it, the story follows siblings Darry and Trish Jenner as they head home through the backwoods to see their folks, only to be menaced by a maniac in an ancient truck who later turns out to be an even more ancient--primal, even--predator. What follows is an hour and a half of the Jenner kids being stalked, run off the road, chased some more, swooped down upon, ultimately leading to the film's ultra-bleak, killer of a finale.
Writer-director Victor Salva nailed the casting with Justin Long making an early appearance here as Darry and Gina Philips as Trish. Salva gives Darry the "final girl" status in the movie with a more grim outcome than you would expect in this kind of movie and Long throws himself completely into the role. Philips plays the levelheaded one who could also serve as a heroine in her own right thanks to hints of some kind of troubled backstory sending her home to see the folks after the last semester at college.
The other lead, Jonathan Breck's Creeper, is well-handled in its own right. Does it have any particular sex? Because when it goes full-frontal, as it were, it doesn't seem to have any of the necessary equipment. But it does have a room filled with preserved, desexualized corpses, pieced together in a grotesque parody of the Sistine Chapel.
The question of sex (what's the Creepers, who's having it) is salient given some of the background of director Victor Salva. There's a lot to be written about the Creeper and the predator as artist as it relates to Salva and his own problematic past (he was convicted of molesting an actor on a film 12 years prior to Jeepers Creepers). But there's an entire thread of investigation and possibly ill-considered second-guessing of the filmmakers' motives when it comes to this and the 2003, far inferior sequel.
Presentation and Special Features
The image here could be a bit sharper, and while the colors are overall dull, this was the intent of the director, who wanted the Florida setting to seem more muted than it was during the Springtime shoot. The overall effect is that Jeepers Creepers looks appropriately grungy and faded.
Salva's commentary is worth listening to if only to hear the director talk about the movie he and his team wanted to make versus the constraints of their $10 million budget which affected everything from the number of corpses in the House of Pain scene to the scope of the final police station scene. Beyond that, the disc also includes a one hour "Behind the Peepers" doc from the 2002 DVD. There's also a photo gallery, and ten deleted scenes including an alternate ending. Unfortunately, the new release spoils the overall effect of the movie's monster and actually removes the dark joke from the original DVD and theatrical art.
Jeepers Creepers is available on Blu-ray now from MGM and Twentieth Century Fox.