"More from the Creeper...for whatever that's worth."
Five or six years from now, we'll look back at 2003 as a year in which the Horror Genre enjoyed a small but very healthy revolution. Movies like "28 Days Later", "May", "Cabin Fever" and "Bubba Ho-tep" have reinvigorated the genre and its many fans. And if we dig a lot closer, we MAY remember that 2003 also gave us the likes of "Wrong Turn", "House of 1,000 Corpses" and "Jeepers Creepers 2"...although I doubt it.Though hardly any sort of mini-classic, Victor Salva's original Jeepers Creepers was met with a small sense of enthusiasm upon its theatrical (and subsequent video) release - mainly because it was a fitfully entertaining Monster Movie featuring an effectively creepy creature. The first half of the film in particular was quite impressive - before the ideas ran out and the flick slowly veered closer to cookie-cutter territory.
The sequel continues the trend put forth in the original's second half and not its first. Quite simply, Jeepers Creepers 2 offers a whole lotta not much and does it staunchly and consistently for 90-some minutes. In a threadbare attempt to recall Hitchcock's Lifeboat, Salva this time plunks his entree of eventual victims into a broken-down school bus and lets us peer in as several of them get skewered and shish-kabobed.
In a subplot lifted from the semi-admired cult flick Pumpkinhead, we're also presented with a grieving farmer daddy caught up in Monster Vigilante mode. This diversion does help to pad out the flick's meager running time and offers easily-pleased moviegoers a few chances to cheer at all the gritty machismo - but that's about it.
Certainly a B-level horror sequel can succeed despite such a blatantly one-note narrative, but Jeepers Creepers 2 isn't really one of them. Since the entire movie consists of one bus, one flying monster and several teenagers...you know precisely what you're in for: a hefty body count that's predicated by protagonist personality (which in other words means: the most obnoxious ones earn the ugliest deaths) and a finale that runs on about three fake-jolts too long.
In an effort to tie both films together while explaining the "Creeper" and his motivations, Salva has cooked up a handful of truly insipid plot devices, most notably one teenage girl who seems to suddenly share some sort of "exposition ESP". This allows her to spout all sorts of story explanation so the audience can keep up...as if we're watching something that's particularly brain-taxing.
The bare minimum that a horror flick can offer and still earn a recommendation is quite simply: the goods, the gore, the kills, the scares. In nearly every case, Jeepers Creepers 2 fails resoundingly. Most of the death scenes consist of two scaly claws digging into a victim's shoulders, the soon-to-be-dead looks confused and scared before being yanked skyward, remaining screamers look up and howl with terror. By the time the few creative kills wander onscreen, you'll be too bored to care.Points are due to Salva and company for at least tackling the horror with some small semblance of creativity. The Creeper is quite the compelling little devil; too bad he's realized amidst such familiar trappings and tiresome caricatures.