Jeepers Creepers 2

As the legend goes, every twenty-three years, for twenty-three days, an ancient evil rises up to prey on the flesh of unsuspecting victims. No, we’re not talking about Joan Rivers at the Academy Awards, but the Creeper (same thing), a winged devil who swoops down on his victims like the flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz” and carries them off to an unimaginable horror, and we’re not talking about front row seats at a Coldplay concert.

Picking up just moments where 1991’s “Jeepers Creepers” left off, “Jeepers Creepers 2” fills the screen with stylish and foreboding images, and not much more. The problem with “JC2,” like all boogeyman movie sequels, is that once we know what’s going on, all that’s left is for the filmmakers to set the victims up and then knock them down. Remember the first time you saw “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th”? They were scary because we were as much in the dark as the characters.

Since most people going into “JC2” will have seen the original, the mystery surrounding the “Creeper” and his eating habits is gone. Writer-director Victor Salva has already played that hand, so he’s forced to pump up the body count, hoping to mask the fact that he’s telling the same old story. He can hope all he wants, but movies about things that go bump in the dark are only scary when the lights are out.

“Jeepers Creepers 2” starts off with honestly chilling prelude, where a young farm boy is carried off by the Creeper. Salva and director of photography Don E. FauntLeRoy (repeating duties from the first film) immediately establish an ominous tone, which they have trouble maintaining once the plot settles on its main course, a school bus filled with championship basketball players, perky cheerleaders, and various adult chaperones.

As writer, Salva may be paying homage to “Jaws” and any number of thrillers where a small group of people find themselves isolated from safety, but this decision robs the film of any genuine suspense. What made the first film giddy was that no matter where the victims turned, they couldn’t escape the grasp of the “Creeper.” Placing all of the victims inside a bus may have been a thrifty move, but it reduces the already one-dimensional characters to shooting gallery victims, sardines in a tin can waiting to be devoured.

Then again, after spending twenty minutes with these folk, you just wish the “Creeper” would pig out and get it over with. They have names like “D,” Izzy, Dante, Bucky, Minxie (a cheerleader with a psychic connection to the Creeper), but are so disposable, they could be listed as Victim 1 and Victim 2. The always dependable Ray Wise is featured as the farmer hellbent on revenge after his son is killed, and is the only actor in the film who seems remotely aware that the only way to survive the rudimentary dialogue and plotting is play it over the top.

Unlike the film’s startling opening scene, the rest of the action takes place at night on a seemingly deserted stretch of road, where the “Creeper” has disabled the bus and begins to pick off the occupants one by one. Hiding underneath tons of make-up and razor sharp talons, Jonathan Breck is quite menacing as the Creeper, but as the film wears on, so does his welcome. This is a case where less would have been more.

“Jeepers Creepers” was a low budget film that became a modest hit, but was that enough to warrant a follow-up? The first film pretty much said all there was to be said. “Jeepers Creepers 2” is obviously an attempt to capitalize on the brand name, but instead of pushing the envelope, Salva just rehashes plot points from the first film.

ATE IS NOT ENOUGH Monster movie goes back for seconds


Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Travis Schiffner, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Drew Tyler Bell, Billy Aaron Brown. Directed by Victor Salva. Rated R. 106 Minutes.


Comments are closed.