Ray Wise - Jack Taggart
Jonathan Breck - The Creeper
Eric Nenninger - Scott Braddock
Nicki Aycox - Minxie Hayes
Garikayi Mutambirwa - Deaundre 'Double D' Davis
Travis Schiffner - Izzy Bohen
Luke Edwards - Jack Taggart Jr.
Diane Delano - Betty Borman
Billy Aaron Brown - Andy 'Bucky' Buck
Genre - Horror/Slasher/Supernatural/Monsters
Running Time - 104 Minutes
Supposedly for every 23 years, for 23 days, the gargoyle-like monster known as The Creeper (Jonathan Breck) terrorizes towns just so it can feed and sustain itself. On Day 22, The Creeper poses as a scarecrow on a farm to capture the son of a local farmer named Jack Taggart (Ray Wise). Feeling he failed his boy, Taggart and his oldest son, Jack Jr. (Luke Edwards), begin making weapons and finding clues to get a bit of vengeance on The Creeper.
Meanwhile, a school bus of high school basketball players, their coaches, and several cheerleaders head home after winning an away game. Suddenly, the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After inspecting the damage, the group realizes that the back tire was attacked by a sharp weapon made of bone and body parts that resembles a shuriken. They get it fixed and begin driving again, but another shuriken attacks the new tire. Now afraid for their lives, the group must spend the night inside the bus while awaiting help. It would be a lot easier if a couple of the students weren't dealing with prejudices, especially Scotty (Eric Nenninger), who feels that the black players [especially star player Deaundre 'Double D' Davis (Garikayi Mutambirwa)] are being favored over him since he's white and wants nothing to do with the supposedly homosexuals on the squad, in particular Izzy (Travis Schiffner). Also, a cheerleader named Minxie (Nicki Aycox) has dreams and visions about The Creeper, Darry (Justin Long in a cameo), and what/who The Creeper is after. When the group realizes that The Creeper is only after certain people in the bus, will they stick together or sacrifice their lives to stay alive another day?
- Ray Wise and Jonathan Breck. JEEPERS CREEPERS 2, which I didn't find as good as the first JEEPERS CREEPERS, still has some things going for it. The performances of Ray Wise and Jonathan Breck are one of those things. While the acting was mixed at best, these two men shined quite brightly amongst the rest.
Leland Palmer himself, Ray Wise, is really great in this sequel. He doesn't get much screen time besides the opening sequence and the final act, but his presence is felt throughout. He brings a much needed intensity and charisma to the film and makes for a worthy adversary against The Creeper. I really dug him in the role and I wish he were in it more instead of the annoying teen characters.
Jonathan Breck, who reprises his role as The Creeper, also does a solid job in the role. He gets more face time and more to do this time around, obviously having fun with the part. I thought Breck gave The Creeper a lot more personality and charisma this time around, especially when he was staring at his victims and licking windows and stuff. I dug it.
The other actors, especially Eric Nenninger as the douchebag racist and homophobic Scott and Nicki Aycox as the psychic Minxie, were decent. But they weren't given much to do but argue, run, and act scared. I blame the script more than I do their acting ability for what these young actors brought to their roles.
- The direction. While the suspense, tension, and mystique factor wasn't as strong as it was in the first film, I still thought Victor Salva directed JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 really well. It's more of an action film than the previous film, and Salva takes advantage of it - keeping a quick pace and using more angles and more stylish shots to create a level of excitement. The use of silence and slow motion worked for me, as well as the cinematography. There were some nice jump scares in the film and the chase sequences between The Creeper and his victims were strong and used well. I wish the film was creepier and had more of an atmosphere and mood like the first film did, but I liked the visual presentation of the film quite a lot. Not much complaint here.
- The special effects. JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 has an obviously bigger budget than the first film, and Salva makes sure it shows. The Creeper looks great, looking slimier and sweatier than in the film film. His design sort of looked like a demonic Freddy Krueger. I also loved The Creeper flying around. It didn't look all that fake, looking absolutely convincing with the use of good CGI. And some of the gore effects, like the head being ripped off, eyes gouged out, and The Creeper growing a new head [awesome visually] worked for me. A lot of good stuff here, in my opinion.
- Some of the themes presented. Here's where the debate over whether this film works or not will come in. While I do think the screenplay was sort of weak and some things that are brought up could have been explored more, I do appreciate that there's a bit of depth trying to seep its way into this sequel.
The issues of racism and homophobia brought up add a bit of realism to the story. Do I think they should have been used better, especially in terms of how it would play out within the narrative? Absolutely and I'll discuss that more soon. But I'm sure school teams deal with both issues, and it made the tension between the characters a bit more real for me. I could buy Scott feeling left out from the team due to his white skin color, implying that basketball is considered a "black person" sport. I could buy several members of the team feeling uncomfortable with a potentially gay player on their team, wondering if this guy is going to come on to them or not. Is it ignorant? Absolutely. It's sad that some people still view the world in such a way. But it's real and it's more than possible. So while the story doesn't give these two important issues a more serious role in the narrative, I appreciated that it added something at least.
Speaking of more positive things within the narrative, I liked the dream sequences. It added a surreal vibe to an already surreal situation. Obviously, these sequences were nothing but exposition to explain who and what The Creeper was after without actually saying the words. But it's better than that stupid psychic lady from the first one, since I could understand it visually. In fact, it was presented a much stronger and effective way, as I felt this knowledge was way more important to the characters - which I never felt in the first film. Also bringing back Darry for these dreams was a nice touch and created a good connection to the first film.
Plus, I also liked the presence of Jack Taggart and his family hunting down The Creeper. I like personal revenge stories in films, and Jack's hunt for this creature gave the sequel a different feel from the first film. I understood why he wanted this thing dead and I rooted for Jack all the way. In fact, he was the most interesting character by default because of his arc. It's a shame he wasn't the focus of the film because JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 would have been a much better film, with ton of tension and drama, if Jack was given more of the spotlight.
- The narrative and the characters. A lot of people seem to prefer the story of JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 over the first film, and I'm not really sure why. It can't be because the way the story is told is much better here - because it isn't. In fact, I felt the film went way too long, especially since [besides Jack and his son] I didn't really give a damn about any of the characters in peril.
Mostly all of them were stereotypes, and not exactly good ones either. Hell, between the three girls, the only I could differentiate between them was Minxie [the blonde chick], the annoying brunette chick, and the token black girl who just sat there and looked scared. Plus, it was hard to keep track of the members of the basketball team besides Scotty, Izzy, and Deaundre. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what the names of anyone else on the squad. Then you had the two coaches, the bus driver, and Bucky - who I guess was the waterboy or something. FRIDAY THE 13TH movies have better characterizations for their characters. How did this slip by in JEEPERS CREEPERS 2, especially when we have to spend time with these idiots for 85% of the film? As annoying as Scotty was with his racism, homophobia, and skeptism, at least I understood who his character was. Minxie had the psychic visions, so I understood her deal. Deaundre was the star player and Scotty's rival, so I got his deal. Izzy was the possible gay one, so I got him. And Bucky was the defacto leader when the teens were trapped on the bus. But everyone else felt like extras. They were thinner than paper here. Why should I care about these nobodies for 80 minutes? Why couldn't The Creeper had killed them all in one shot? It's ridiculous.
Also, a lot of the stalk scenes felt repetitive to me. Sure, the same can be said about any slasher film. But in most cases, the victims offer something different in each scene, while the killer may use their weapon to murder them in a slightly different way. Here, The Creeper lands on the bus, picks a victim, flies away, lands on the bus, picks a victim, flies away, etc. There's so much I can see of that without it losing its effectiveness. I actually appreciated it when the narrative moved out of the school bus and into the woods. At least we saw some new action taking place, which refreshed the film a bit. But that middle section, while tense at times, just grated at me due to the characters involved. JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 is one of those films where you root for the villain of the story over the people he's torturing.
- The execution of the themes presented. As I had written earlier, I appreciated some real life issues being put in place within the narrative. However, I don't think they were executed as one would have liked here. The racism issue added drama between Scotty and Deaundre, but I don't think there was enough of it. Plus, Scotty's reasoning for it seemed out of place for me. If they've been a team for this long, why all of sudden does Scotty have issues with his position on the team? From what I gathered from the dialogue, Scotty played in the game and even score points which added to the team's win. The issue for me really wasn't about Scotty being white and star player Deaundre being black. It was about Scotty being a jealous prick who did nothing but whine about not shooting the final point. Racism is a serious social issue that I'm sure does exist on many sports teams. But it wasn't handled well here, as the tension and drama seemed to be more on jealousy than on the color of someone's skin.
Then we get to the whole homophobia/homoerotic issue of JEEPERS CREEPERS 2. Again, homophobia is a real issue amongst sports teams. And certain characters in the film are called out as gay, or perceived as such that members of the team are uncomfortable with it. But again, the narrative does nothing to explore this issue at all. In fact, I found the sequel more homoerotic than anything. I have no issues with that, as long as the story supports it and it eventually leads to something important. But it just feels exploitative here. We have guys peeing together in close proximity, which one peeing on the other I believe. Then we have shirtless guys sunbathing on the roof of the bus. Then we have shirtless guys in the final scene visiting the Taggart Farm. Yet, none of the girls in the film show much skin at all. In fact, besides the female bus driver [who happens to be portrayed as pretty masculine], The Creeper targets men and eats them. Hell, he even licks at one. If The Creeper is gay, then that's fine with me. But nothing in the film really establishes that. It's all assumptions. It doesn't help that all the young actors in the film are good-looking with muscles, while the girls are pretty homely and frumpy looking. I guess one could say that girls are usually naked in horror films all the time, so why can't men be shirtless and treated as eye candy. But girls in those films are usually showering, having sex, or changing clothes - all actions that require nudity. Men peeing together a centimeter away and sunbathing together on a bus just seems a bit odd if there's nothing behind these actions.
The elephant in the room is that Victor Salva is obviously a gay director and screenwriter. This wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for his criminal past where he filmed himself having oral sex with an underage boy, which he was punished for. It's great that he wants to express his sexuality through his characters and movies, but with a past like his, it becomes more evident of the crimes he once committed. I got a lot of flack for my review of JEEPERS CREEPERS because of the man's past, which didn't influence my decision at all while watching it. But with the homoeroticism in play in this film, which is fine, it's hard to separate the real world from the reel world whenever it's exploited. If this film was meant to be catered towards a gay audience, like HELLBENT, it would have worked better for me. But I'm not sure who this film is catered to and why these issues are even in the film if they won't be given enough time to really mean something in terms of the narrative. It felt more out of place than feeling like it added some dimension, because most of the time these issues weren't even brought up. Either do something with it or don't bother using it.
THE FINAL HOWL
EXTRA REVIEW: Jason Soto, from Invasion of the B Movies and Man, I Love Films, also reviewed JEEPERS CREEPERS 2. And I have to say - he's not a fan of this film at all. Which one of us do you agree with?
But I refuse to call this a sequel cause nothing in this film resembles, or even mentions, except for maybe two things, the first film. And the two things are this:
1. Every 23 years "It" comes out and feeds for 23 days.
2. Some dude who may or may not be the dude from the first film is missing his eyes.
That's it. I hate this movie. "
JASON'S Jeepers Creepers 2 REVIEW