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Published August 29th, 2003 | by Adrian Mackinder

Jeepers Creepers 2 Review

Classification: 18 Director: Victor Salva Rating: 1/5

As is the norm nowadays, any film that does vaguely well at the box office spawns at least one sequel. And even more the norm nowadays, they are nearly always dreadful imitations of the original. Indeed, compiling a slurred list of superior sequels often becomes a favoured task for film fans in pubs throughout the world. These lists are never very extensive, however, simply because contenders for this coveted title are few and far between.

OK, so we have the usual entries into this minute canon such as The Godfather Part 2, The Empire Strikes Back and (arguably) Aliens, but it is fair to say that Jeepers Creepers 2 does not deserve such an accolade. Because it’s rubbish.

Still, you can see why it was made. The original Jeepers Creepers was a success on its release in 2001. Written and directed by Victor Salva and produced in part by Francis Ford Coppola’s company American Zoetrope, it was hailed as a straight, efficient and genuinely scary return to form within a genre that was becoming bloated with pale imitations of the more self-referential horror flicks that emerged in the wake of the Scream franchise. Sadly, Jeepers Creepers 2 falls way short of the mark and will be destined to fester amongst the pile of worthless, totally unnecessary follow-ups that deserve to be forgotten for all time.

So, why is it so bad? Well, presented with the opportunity to make a follow-up, Salva decided to expand on the claustrophobic element from the first film, this time incorporating a larger cast in an effort to explore the relationship between them, while at the same time supplying the horror element in the form of The Creeper, a mysterious killer with a penchant for collecting human body parts. This time we follow a bus along a deserted highway, containing a varsity basketball team and its cheerleaders on their way back from a triumphant state championship game. But what they don’t know is that the area is the Creeper’s feeding-ground, who was revealed towards the end of the first film to actually be a mutant, killer budgerigar in a hat. Needless to say, the Creeper causes the coach to breakdown and starts preying on the contents one by one.

The first film owed it’s success in part to the mysterious element; no one knew exactly what it was that was hunting them; at first it was perceived to be simply some lunatic vagrant. Now that the supernatural secret of the Creeper has been revealed to the world, Salva is left with nothing in this film on which to hang any suspense whatsoever. The film plods along with tedious inevitability as this ridiculous giant flying thing picks off the cast, and any attempt to explore the relationships between the characters fails since the script is weak and the acting is uniformly terrible. It is just impossible to care for the plight with which this nasty bunch of kids are faced. In fact, whenever some poor unfortunate is snatched away, it’s a blessed relief since they are all highly punchable.

The only relief does come when an old farmer (played by Ray Wise, recognisable by many as the dad of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks) who, having lost his son at the claws of the Creeper, has decided to dedicate his life to destroying this monstrosity, has built a truck come tank come arsenal – a machine that the A Team would be proud of – and comes to save what’s left of them. And that’s another thing: so little effort was put into the story development that half of the cast just disappear halfway through and the filmmakers either forget or simply can’t be bothered to let you know what happened to them. Did they escape or did they perish at the claws of this oversized chaffinch? Even though most films like this get away with portraying the victims as nothing more than two dimensional fodder for the Beast, given that Salva deliberately set out to create a character-based horror narrative, this neglect for half the bloody people in the film redefines the word ‘shoddy’.

In all, you’d be better off avoiding this unsatisfying waste of time and spend an hour and a half sitting at home, honing your own creative skills by drawing a nice picture of a lovely house in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Which, rest assured, will be far more frightening than Jeepers Creepers 2.

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