Jeepers Creepers 2
Directed by Victor Salva. Starring Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Travis Schiffner, Jaii Isaac Sanchez, Nicki Lynn Aycox. (2003, R, 106 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003
Less a film than a fascinating demonstration of what you can’t achieve with limited talent, locations, and scripting, Jeepers Creepers 2 is the kind of limp horror retread whose only saving grace may be that it will inspire legions of budding young screenwriters to say, "Jesus, this sucks. I can do better." Hopefully, someone will grab the torch and, if not run with it, at the very least track down and set fire to the highly combustible prints of this inexcusably inept yawn-a-thon – it’s not so much bad as it is unfathomable. Why waste the several million dollars it took to make Jeepers Creepers 2 when you could have just as easily handed over the green to, say, Robert Rogriguez with instructions to "top George Romero"? It’s apparently the immutable law of the horror-film sequel that this second helping of flying demons versus teens had to be at least twice as witless as the first, which, a handful of you out there may remember, had an excellent first act going for it before toppling into rote genre flimflamming. This sequel, also helmed by director Salva (who managed the memorable Powder in 1995 before being temporarily sidelined when it was revealed he had child-molestation charges in his background) feels more like one of those awful straight-to-video spookshows that tends to crop up on Cinemax ’round about the time the beer runs out. The script (again by Salva) reintroduces us to the Creeper, a winged bipedal creature, that, as we’re told time and time again, awakens every 23 years so that it may feed for 23 days. All Bill O’Reilly jokes aside, the Creeper looks more like an abandoned original design for Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky creature, with its veined, dragonesque wingspan slicing the night into bloody wet chunks and soaring above in the sort of spit ’n’ polish CGI job that makes Dragonslayer look like high art. Set a few days after the ending of the original film, the sequel pits the Creeper against a busload of high school footballers returning from their big game – which pretty much means we want the monster to win from the start. Salva immediately dispenses with any sort of characterization – the only difference between the kids is their skin color, and occasionally their audience-annoyance capabilities – and so by the time they begin dying (usually by being yanked through the tinfoil school-bus roof) it already seems as though you’ve been forced to share their miserable company for far too long. Twin Peaks’ Ray Wise shows up as a vengeful farmer out to skewer the Creeper on his homemade pick-’m-up truck harpoon, but even his crinkly acting skills (he growls his way through the movie looking as though he swallowed a cow pie and enjoyed it) can’t make Jeepers Creepers 2 anything but a complete snooze – it doesn’t even qualify as a nightmare.