The first JEEPERS CREEPERS polarized audiences; some thought it was a fairly original spin on the killer-creature genre, and others found it tacky and repellent. (But EVERYBODY agreed that the ending sucked.) I'm in the former group. Despite some undeniable silliness, the film possessed a generally sure grasp of horror fundamentals and more than a few authentically creepy moments.Now we have the sequel, which pits the Creeper against a pack of high school jocks whose bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The Creeper, we're told in the prologue, strikes every 23 years for 23 days; it's now the 23rd day, and he's got a lot of killing to do before he goes back into hibernation. Which means, I guess, that we can expect Jeepers Creepers 3 somewhere around 2026.
Disappointingly, writer-director Victor Salva eschews the spooky atmospherics of the earlier film in favor of relatively straightforward creature-on-a-rampage fare. And his grip on the material is clearly less firm this time around. Remember the psychic woman in the first film who popped up to provide important exposition? The sequel has lots more where that came from. Here, we have absurd inventions like the female teen who falls into a trance that conveniently reveals everything about the Creeper's bloody history.
Where the original Jeepers generated chills, this entry veers right into B-movie cheese, with bad dialogue and questionable narrative logic. You see, the Creeper now incapacitates his victims by throwing four-pronged knives into them. Gee, is that what he's been up to the last two years--learning kung fu? (At least he's no longer driving a truck with personalized license plates.) But JC2 is fun in that trashy, campy creature-feature way, reveling as it does in ridiculous death scenes (one guy flails around comically after his head has been torn off his body).
Advance word on the film hinted at its pervasive homoerotic content. As near as I can determine, that's not much of an exaggeration; we're treated to an awful lot of guys running around shirtless, and let's not even talk about the scene where the Creeper licks his lips as he winks at a couple of his prospective male victims. Admittedly, it's a little odd seeing this sort of thing in a Hollywood film, but I don't find it terribly creepy or controversial, even taking into consideration Salva's past as a convicted sex offender. It's all pretty innocuous.An unnecessary sequel? Maybe--but the film does have its twisted charms.