The Films (3.5/5 Jeepers Creepers, 2/5, Jeepers Creepers 2)
The Jeepers Creepers films came out in the early 2000's, just as the wave of who-done-it horrors of the late 90's had finally begun to die off, but a few years before the torture porn genre of the early to mid 2000's would begin to take hold of the mainstream horror consciousness. Horror was in the dead zone it seemingly ends up every generation, and Jeepers Creepers with it's straight forward premise, and effective execution filled a gap for fans looking for quality theatrical horror in a period where the pickings were slim.
The film co-stars Gina Phillips and Justin Long as college age siblings Trish and Darry. The pair are driving home down a stretch of rural Florida highway during their spring break, when then begin to be pursued by what starts out as an unknown driver in a large heavy rusted truck, and later reveals itself to be a supernatural creature who is resurrected for 23 days every 23 years to recharge it's body by killing off people and taking their body parts. He has chosen one of the two as his next victim, and they must spend the night trying to evade the "Creeper" before he strikes.
Jeepers Creepers has a very simple, and largely successful premise. The film starts with a dialogue scene with Trish and Darry talking and driving, that helps to establish their characters. It gives them enough of a setup that when around the five minute mark when the Creeper begins his initial attack you feel for them, and slightly understand their motivations. The first half of the film takes it's queue from the early Spielberg playbook (think Duel with a creepy monster), and is successful at keeping the suspense and scares at a maximum.
Unfortunately, by the film's latter half it starts to feel like a slog. This could be attributed to the characterization which go full horror movie cliche, and show the characters acting in all the wrong ways to drag out their plight, or it could just be too much of a good thing. The performances from the main cast are solid, and fit the material well. Nothing, outstanding but they all work for the mood of the film. The direction from Salva keeps things well paced for the most part, and has a nice warm tone for the first half, before the film plunges into darkness, and a solid dark ambiance.
Jeepers Creepers ended on a dark note, and had a slightly open premise, couple that with the fact that it was indeed a success, and a sequel was all but guaranteed. Victor Salva, Francis Ford Coppola and company returned 2 years later with a sequel. The film picks up within the same 23 day period that the original took place in. The film opens with a sequence on a rural farm where a young boy is snatched by the Creeper in view of his Father. The Father then decides to find out what took his boy, and hunt it down. While this is happening a school bus full of high school athletes break down on the Creepers highway, their chaperones are quickly disposed of, and they are left to find for themselves against an entity that is seemingly unstoppable and has their destruction in mind.
Jeepers Creepers 2 attempts to mirror what made the original so successful, but that premise had seemingly started to run out of gas by the end of the first entry, so the 2nd film didn't seem all that interesting. I will say having a cast of all teenagers stuck in one small primary location made things interesting, in a Lord of the Flies sort of the way. This was most obvious after the adults were out of the picture, and they had to fend for themselves against the Creeper, but that was only interesting for so long. The highlight of the film was the performance by Twin Peaks' Ray Wise as Jack Taggert the Father determined to find out about his Son's disappearance.
The film maintains a solid continuity with the prior entry, both visually and tonally which works in it's favor. The cast perform admirably, but the characters are largely cookie cutter, and don't really have any purpose other than death-fodder for the Creeper. Overall, it's decent enough of a film, but it's a bit too familiar of a premise to be effective.
Audio/Video (3.5/5, 3.5/5)
Scream Factory presents Jeepers Creepers is presented in a 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded while Jeepers Creepers 2 is presented 2:35:1 with a 1080p AVC encode. Both films look solid. Jeepers Creepers is a new scan from Scream Factory from the 35mm interpositive. Jeepers Creepers 2 is the same transfer present on the older MGM Blu-ray. There are stable colors, solid blacks, and a decent grain structure, this applies to both films. Also, they both have moments of softness throughout, and some minor black crush in darker scenes.
The audio is presented across both discs with a DTS-HD 5.1 track in English. Both tracks are quite serviceable with dialogue and score coming through nicely.
Extras (4/5, 4/5)
Scream Factory have predictably packed the hell out of both Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 with extras. Some old, many more new. There are 2 commentary tracks on each disc, each film has interviews, documentaries, deleted scenes, galleries, trailers and so much more.
Jeepers Creepers is a solid, suspenseful horror film in the vein of Spielberg's Duel. Jeepers Creepers 2 is an almost direct, but less successful sequel that follows up on the feel and premise of the original. The Audio/Video on both are solid for the most part, but where these releases really pack a punch is in the extras department. Jeepers Creepers is RECOMMENDED. Jeepers Creepers 2 is a RENTAL.