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Jeepers Creepers

Jeepers Creepers on DVD

Lots of Jeepers, Not enough Creepers

The first 30 minutes of Jeepers Creepers should be used as an example of how horror movies should be done.

In fact, it's so good that if it had continued the way it started, it could very well have been the best scary movie since Halloween.

Unfortunately, it eventually fizzles into nothing more than standard horror schtick. The killer is after them, they're running for their lives, bada-bing bada-boom.

It's really too bad, too, because the first half hour is absolutely outstanding. Basically, a brother and sister are driving home across several states. The movie starts off on a lonely stretch of highway, where Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long) are arguing like a typical brother and sister. Less than five minutes into the movie, they are "attacked" by a horrible-looking truck, which seems to be going out of its way to make them uncomfortable.

Further down the road, they notice the same truck parked in front of a church. They see the driver throwing something down a sewer pipe. It appears to be wrapped in a sheet with red stains on it. Hmm…

Of course, the driver notices them, and they are once again pursued by the menacing vehicle. Once they manage to lose it, they go back to check out the apparent crime scene.

Everything up to that point is done perfectly. The truck is revealed in a very Hitchcock-ian way, the mood and creepy feeling are established very early; even the banter between the siblings is believable.

But, like I said, once the movie really gets going, it becomes nothing more than the usual "bad guy chasing good guys all over the place" thing.

All the way through, writer/director Victor Salva did manage to do some things right. First of all, he never reveals what The Creeper is or where it came from, which is nice. Secondly, the fact that the whole movie takes place in the middle of nowhere adds to the feeling of isolation and helplessness. Thirdly, he manages to poke fun at other horror movies, like when the heroes manage to injure their pursuer, Darry asks: "Do you think it's dead?" and his sister replies: "They never are!" And finally, it's so nice to see a movie that isn't concerned with a romantic subplot. Hollywood needs to learn that if it isn't appropriate, putting it in anyway will not make it so.

Both Gina Philips and Justin Long are very good as the brother and sister team, having good brother/sister chemistry. Salva has done an excellent job of directing, and he shows he definitely has what it takes to play in the big leagues.

If he can create a movie that's as scary all the way through as the first act of Jeepers Creepers, it will be the day the horror movie is reborn.

All in all, this movie delivers. I can't stress enough how great the first act is, and how big a shame it is that it fizzles so much.

Horror movie fans should definitely check it out.

MGM has, once again, blessed us with a fine special edition DVD. The picture seems a little murky, but it's revealed in Salva's commentary that this was intentional. And to be honest, this is one case where I don't mind murky picture. It adds to the mood of the film, and makes it seem more realistic. The sound is very good, but like the picture, seems a little sub par. I'm not sure if this was also intentional.

As far as extras go, on the same side as the feature there is a very good commentary by writer/director Victor Salva. He really enjoyed making the movie and is very pleased with the outcome, and he makes for a fairly entertaining commentary. Next up is an hour-long documentary that is split into six sections. As far as movie documentaries go, this one is very good. It actually tells you a lot about the making of the film, and isn't just a bunch of back-slapping. Very nicely done.

Next, there are 10 deleted/alternate scenes, including an alternate opening and ending. The alternate opening is basically just an extended one, while the alternate ending is not nearly as powerful as the one used in the film. The rest are basically just typical deleted/alternate scenes. Finally, there is a photo gallery and the original trailer, which doesn't do the movie justice at all.

Once again, a very nice job by MGM.

Jeepers Creepers, from MGM Home Entertainment
90 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck and Eileen Brennan
Produced by Barry Opper, Tom Luse
Written and Directed by Victor Salva


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Updated May 13, 2006