Every 23 years, a monster known as the Creeper lives and feeds on humans for 23 days. Weare at the end of the current cycle. After killing a farm boy on day 22, the Creepers spends hislast day disabling a school bus and tormenting the athletes and cheerleaders on board.
That’s about all you’ve got for a plot, but for this kind of horror film, that’s all you reallyneed. Oh sure, there are all sorts of side issues like the racism of the team captain, and theher…ine who has visions that allow her to provide all the exposition necessary to explain why theCreeper behaves as he does, but really what we’re here for is to see the monster kill the people.The original film was also very simple, and worked very well; it was an effectively retro mix of70s road horror film with and 80s-style monster. This version has a lot of fast-and-furious action,but sacrifices most of the relentless dread the original had (at least in its first half). As well, thereare simply too many characters, and trying to keep track of them all scatters the film’s narrativedrive, diluting the horror. The coda is unnecessary, predictable, and risible. As sequels go, itcould be worse, but it still marks a decline, which we can hope stops here.
The sound is very impressive, and should rack up a fair number of scares on impressionableviewers all on its own. The environmental effects are strong and continual: you are alwaysimmersed in the landscape, out there in the hostile land with the victims. Especially nice effectsinvolve the flapping of wings, whether these wings belong to a flock of crows (flying in fromthe front to the rear) or the Creeper (flapping in from the rear to the front). The mix is verypowerful (with a deep, ominous bass to the score), packing plenty of juice into the scares.
The colours, as the film opens, are wonderfully surreal in their strength. The yellow of thecornfield is so powerful it is orange, and the screen glows with an unnatural, sweltering heat.Rarely has daylight seemed so menacing. The colours in the rest of the film are just as good. Theblacks and contrasts are terrific, and there is no grain. The aspect is an expansive 2.35:1anamorphic widescreen.
There are two commentaries. The first features writer/director Victor Salva and just aboutthe entire cast. They’re all having fun remembering this scene and that, but it is impossible mostof the time to know who’s speaking (other than Salva himself). The other track is less chaotic:here the speakers are Jonathan Breck (the Creeper), production illustrator Brad Parker and make-up FX man Brian Penikas. The emphasis on this track, naturally, is on the creation of themonster.
Four related featurettes combine into a 40-minute documentary. Though rather familiar intheir promotional nature, they are still informative, covering the general making of the film, themonster, the music score, and the digital effects (this last featurette has no narration). “A Day inHell” is a 26-minute video journal of a day on the set. The deleted scenes, moments and lines arepresented in a single montage, which does make it hard to keep track of how the scenes differfrom the final product. There are 2 unfilmed storyboard sequences. They are scored, and are “TheCreeper’s Lair” and “Ventriloquist Creeper.” The latter is the more intriguing, since it wouldhave involved the Creeper talking. What, exactly, he would have said is not stated, unfortunately.The photo gallery is also scored. Trailers are provided for both Creeper movies,Shredder, and Bulletproof Monk. The menu is most elaborate, requiring its ownset of credits, and consists of new little mini-movies of the Creeper doing his thing.
A very solid release, in terms of sound, picture, and extras. The movie itself if fun, butultimately superfluous and nowhere near as dark as the original.
Special Features List
- 2 Audio Commentaries
- 4 Connected Featurettes
- “A Day in Hell” Set Diary
- Deleted Scenes, Moments and Lines
- 2 Unfilmed Storyboard Sequences
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers