Jeepers Creepers 2

The Creeper gives a thumbs-up to one of his prospective victims,
just so the guy knows he’s going to get killed. I’m not kidding.

All of you who thought the second half of Victor
Salva’s 2001 “Jeepers Creepers” was an underrated masterpiece
of gore and frights, bogged down by a boring first half, rejoice. For
the rest of us, who felt the first “Jeepers” was a taught, wildly
interesting flick until the Creeper’s wings were revealed, I’m sad
to say the second film has none of the original’s ingenuity and about
as much tension as pudding (vanilla). It is an exercise in bland
re-hash, enlivened by moments of Laura Palmer’s dad wielding a
make-shift harpoon gun and flying the Creeper like a kite.

The erstwhile sequel starts out quite good, with a young boy
being taken from his father’s farm by the Creeper (Jonathan Breck,
donning the wings and wide-brimmed hat for the second time). The scene
is clever and well-filmed, but if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve
seen the scene. Another movie with the same beginning could have been
scary, or at least cool. This film would have been a serviceable
straight-to-video venture, painless but forgettable. I just left the
theater and I’m forced to consult the Internet to remember characters
names.

The film picks up where the last one left us, in the final hours
of The Creeper’s 23 day eating binge before he must return to
hibernation for another 23 years. After dispatching with Taggart’s
(Ray Wise) son (and leaving Taggart and his other son still alive, for
some odd reason) the Creeper starts blowing tires out of a multi-ethnic
busload of high-school athletes and cheerleaders, on their way back from
a successful run at the championship game. While much is made of the
creature’s time running out, he seems to be taking his sweet time
dispatching the inhabitants of the bus. The kids in the bus need little
description, other than “The Bigot,” “The Italian Guy” and
“The Guy Who Lets His Glasses Do The Acting.” Taggart and his
surviving son tool around building large-scale recreations of the
weapons from “From Dusk Til Dawn” and “Phantasm,” while Salva
does his best to beat the audience over the head with the Ahab/Moby Dick
references. Taggart becomes pretty obsessed with killing the Creeper in
the oh, 10 hours he has left to think about it.

The problem really with “Jeepers Creepers 2″ is in tone. It
can’t decide if it wants to be a straight-out scary monster movie, or
a campy rehash making fun of the genre and the original while at the
same time laying the gore on thick. In other words, this movie is not
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.”

Take, for instance, a scene where the kids, trapped in the bus,
are trying to figure out where the Creeper is and how he will strike
next. Salva plays the scene with rising tension as the Creeper is heard
and glimpsed around the bus. He kills the tension, however, by having
the kids, in unison, jump from one side to the other and mug like “The
3 Stooges Meet Jonathan Breck.” But it isn’t quite funny enough to
reach the sublime absurdity of “Night of the Demon’s 2″ or Peter
Jackson’s “Dead Alive (AKA Braindead).” JC 2 has its moments,
such as when the kids’ coach, filmed way in the back of the shot, is
plucked by the Creeper and screams like Wile E. Coyote to his death.
Sadly, I was the only one in the theater laughing.

Speaking of Jackson’s viscera-filled zombie romp, the gore in
almost non-existent in JC 2. While there are a handful of violent
offings, impalings, decapitations, and at least one face-ectomy, there
is very little blood. Many of the killings take place off-screen, and
there is no violent payoff, such as the Creeper’s layer or the
groan-inducing pun ending of the first JC. Even when Taggart shows up
to have an Ahab-style showdown with the beast, the action is largely CGI
and too fast to notice.

The acting, save for Wise, who understood how silly everything
was, is uniformly terrible. The kids are pretty ridiculous, and a cameo
return of one of the first film’s protagonists (I won’t give the
surprise away, in case you haven’t seen the trailer (God, I hate when
they give everything away in the trailer)) just serves as a reminder of
the above-par acting in JC 1.

The non-CGI effects are admittedly pretty good. The make-up on
the Creeper is cool to look at, though the film was so dark that it was
hard to see. The only real change from the first film, it seems, is
that Salva didn’t think the creature looked “wet enough.” Point
rectified, the Creeper was sopping wet this time out. I’ll let you
draw your own inferences as to the overwhelming appropriateness of this
touch.

Agree? Disagree? Speak your voice by heading to our Jeepers Creepers 2 review thread.

 

Official Score