US Release Date: 08-29-2003
Directed by: Victor Salva
- Ray Wise, as
- Jack Taggart
- Jonathan Breck, as
- The Creeper
- Travis Schiffner, as
- Izzy Bohen
- Nicki Lynn Aycox, as
- Minxie Hayes
- Drew Tyler Bell, as
- Jonny Young
- Billy Aaron Brown, as
- Andy 'Bucky' Buck
- Justin Long, as
- Darry Jenner
- Eric Nenninger as
Al Santos and Nicki Lynn Aycox in Jeepers Creepers 2.
Like its predecessor, Jeepers Creepers 2 has a good setup. However, it also has just as weak an ending. What could have been a better movie is stuck in mediocrity.
A few days after the first movie takes place, a busload of high school basketball players and cheerleaders get stuck on a country road. They listen briefly to a news report on the radio that describes some of the events from the first movie. One of the cheerleaders suddenly becomes psychic and starts seeing visions of Darry, the main character from the first movie. Darry attempts to warn her about the danger they are in.
Of course the warnings are moot, because within minutes all the adults on the bus get whisked away by the Creeper. The teens are thus left inside the bus that is stranded on a country road in the middle of the night. Like the first movie, the set up is great.
This movie suffers even greater the same fate as the first one. There is no characterization. The brother and sister's only personality trait in the first movie was that they argued. That is so rare in siblings! The jocks have the same personalities. They argue. One is jealous about his lack of playing time. Another picks on someone because people think he is gay. None of the teens have any personality and I didn't care if any of them lived or died.
A side plot involves a father and his teenage son hunting the Creeper. While the man's younger son worked in a field, the Creeper did his scarecrow routine and eyeballed the youth. Before you know it, the Creeper jumped from the cross, nabbed the boy and made off with him.
Like the first movie, there is no sex, even though it features lots of chearleaders and jocks. The boys, for some reason, cannot seem to keep their shirts on. It is not surprising considering that Salva is a registered child molester who was sentenced in 1988 to a correctional facility for having sex with a 12-year-old boy who starred in his first feature film. Salva's sexual attraction to young boys makes the scenes of the abducted boy all the more creepy.
This movie give us more of the Creeper and information on him. Apparently he appears every 23 years for 23 days. During those 23 days he eats all he wants and uses random people for their body parts.
Like the first movie, this is a good set up with a lousy follow through. The teens are mostly unconvincing, lousy actors. The only recognizable face is Scott, played by Eric Nenninger who had a recurring role on Malcolm In the Middle. He does a decent enough job, but much like the rest of the teenagers, I was never invested in any of their welfare. The only person I truly felt anything for was the father seeking his son and revenge.
The Creeper does his best Scarecrow impression.
The original Jeepers Creepers was a mildly entertaining b-movie, but this sequel doesn't even manage that much. Its minimal plot, claustrophobic setting and amateur acting feels more like a rushed sequel made on the cheap to capitalize on the original's surprising box office success. Only the Creeper himself remains of any interest even if he does behave illogically for most of the film.
Eric mentioned the lousy acting and he wasn't exaggerating. Horror movies aren't known for featuring great actors, but this cast is one of the all around worst I've ever seen. Judging from the amount of time they spend with their shirts off, you get the feeling they were hired more for their abs than their acting. Ray Wise, the only cast member I recognized, fares marginally better than the younger cast, but not by much. He seems to be trying to channel his inner Captain Ahab with the Creeper as his white whale.
There's a different look to this film than the original that is obvious from the first scene. The first film was shot in Florida while this one was filmed in California, which is odd considering they are supposed to be taking place in the same county. Perhaps if I hadn't watched both movies so close together it wouldn't have bothered me, but seeing the flatness of Florida replaced by California hills was off-putting.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this installment is its lack of creepiness. There's a great moment at the beginning of the film when the young boy catches sight of a scarecrow out of the corner of his eye when he can't be sure that it moved. After that though, despite a few jump moments, the creepiness factor is pretty much absent, unless you count the Creeper licking the glass of the bus, but to my mind that falls into a different category of ickiness.
The other problem is that because of the first film we know how hard it is to kill the Creeper. Why then, does he take so long to kill everyone on the bus? He's strong enough to peel open the top of a car like a tuna can, but he can't break into a bus? We know he has the strength to kill everyone on that bus without breaking a sweat, so why the wait? Okay, so maybe he enjoys playing with his victims a little, but why take all night, especially when it's his last night before going dormant for 23 more years?
There is a third installment in the works. Reportedly it will feature Gina Philips's character from the original, now with grown-up children of her own, worried that the Creeper will come after them. Unfortunately, it seems that it will also be written and directed by Victor Salva, the man responsible for these first two films. I'd be more excited to see it, or any future installments, if the franchise was handed over to someone else's more capable hands.
When you look like this who needs to be able to act?
Jeepers Creepers 2 may not be an overall improvement, but I enjoyed it nearly as much as I enjoyed its predecessor. The look of the Creeper is better (which is a good thing since we see much more of him this time around). I don't remember seeing his birdlike claw-feet in the first movie. He also swoops menacingly about overhead more than before. To me he's a classic movie monster stuck in a mediocre horror film. The Creeper is the most original horror movie villain since Freddy Krueger, and the image of his silhouette on that scarecrow pole is iconic.
I liked the way they continued the idea of having a psychic character relate information to the other characters. The farmer and his son who go hunting the Creeper, after he flies off with the younger son, are the best things about JC2. They should have focused the story on them. The Taggarts stalking the Creeper across the countryside -with the bus full of jocks being limited to just one good action sequence- would have made for a much better film.
I am in complete agreement about their horrible acting, but I did appreciate all the shirtless buffed guys. Of course eye-candy like that goes only so far. There are several attempts to force mild racial and homophobic issues into the plot but they go nowhere. By the way, was I the only one who thought it was intentionally homoerotic how they all took a piss at the same time while standing close together and conversing about one of the boys being gay?
As Eric said, this movie begins well. One thing the Jeepers Creepers franchise has been able to create is a creepy atmosphere. But in this movie the scenes on the bus drag on and on. I agree with Scott that even though the Creeper enjoys playing with his prey -he sniffs fear like a coke head snorts lines- he wouldn't take this long to kill the kids on the bus. After all it is his last night of feasting for 23 long years. You would think he would want to gorge himself.
I wonder if they will continue the epilogue at the end of this movie for the third installment. I hope so as I would like to see the return of the Taggarts as they face the reawakening of the Creeper. They could still include the woman from the first movie and her now grownup children.
Photos © Copyright United Artists (2003)