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Jeepers Creepers 2

01/10/2003. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy Jeepers Creepers 2 in the USA - or Buy Jeepers Creepers 2 in the UK

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Since useless sequels that no one was particularly clamoring for have bombarded the summertime, why break with tradition now? Frank finds himself exposed to the latest in a long line of unnecessary follow-ups with the release of Victor Salva's flavorless scarefest Jeepers Creepers 2.

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1 hr. 41 mins.
Starring: Jonathan Breck, Justin Long, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Ray Wise, Billy Aaron Brown
Directed by: Victor Salva

Surprisingly, JC2 doesn't possess the genuine chills to ignite any edgy thrills per se.

If anything, this small town high school horror show plays it for ambivalent campy kicks, which isn't necessarily a bad thing to do. However, if it's done this way unintentionally then the flick is gratingly unfocused and awkwardly presented.

Given the fact Salva's narrative is ridiculously structured courtesy of some feeble pedestrian direction that eventually leads to a disappointingly fragile ending, this second instalment of Jeepers Creepers certainly isn't worth capturing your curious peepers.

The premise doesn't shy away too much from its 2001 predecessor. The set up is basically the same: a cannibalistic creature known as the Creeper (Jonathan Breck) chomps his way into a human heart (both literally and figuratively) by feeding on two-legged treats every twenty-third spring for twenty-three days.

Suffice to say the Creeper desperately tries to be in the tradition of his more revered creepy counterparts in that of Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees, Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Kreuger and Halloween's Michael Myers. Unfortunately for the Creeper, this corroding cad doesn't possess the frightening flair or perverse pizzazz of pain that the Terrible Trio of Jason, Freddy and Michael execute with unexplainable methodical menacing ease.

Whereas the aforementioned threesome share a distinctive amount of chaotic charm that made them the legendary slasher movie misfits within their gross-out genre, the Creeper seems like a lightweight clone in comparison with no real sense of cynical personality or refreshing motive to carry out his brand of hedonistic mayhem.

The sequel picks up where the original film's ending left off. A farmer (Ray Wise) and his two sons are engaged in their work-related endeavours until the Creeper strikes in the middle of the day while managing to snatch one of them. As soon as the following night arrives, the Creeper is in his sadistic glory as his next victims are practically placed in his back pocket.

When a school bus packed with championship-bound jocks, cheerleaders and their coaches get stranded on a dark highway in the middle of nowhere this ultimately spells immediate D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for our harried group. On the other hand, this is mere take out food service (and the movie's set up red carpet treatment) for the Creeper to conveniently enjoy the ferocious feasting in all his demented blood- thirsty joy. Hmmm…this gives a whole new twisted meaning to "dinner and a movie", right?

Even if Jeepers Creepers 2 was destined to be another hatchet job guilty pleasure, its crime was the sheer fact that it settled for being just another hysterical run-of-the-mill jittery session. There's nothing remotely involving about Salva's toothless slaying saga to suggest the worthiness of this movie's existence.

The gory goings-on in the first JC outing were not exactly memorable material to salute. But astonishingly enough, Salva never dismisses the mechanical by-the-numbers killing of the Creeper nor do we get a different perspective from what drives this man-eating monster to "chew" out his furious frustrations.

Sure, the fury flies loose and we're handed yet another predictable teen trouncing vehicle that was so fashionable in the early to mid eighties. But the destruction that the Creeper creates doesn't amount to a hill of beans because his path of wickedness is uniformly unimaginative and empty in its randomness. After seeing the various celebrated ways how fright frat boys Jason, Freddy and Michael butchered their way into macabre moviegoers' slaughtered souls, what makes you think that the delusional dullness of the Creeper will add to the feverish festivities?

Forget the handful holes of logic that the film fails to address since this whole skin-crawling showcase is preposterous from the word go. And let's also ignore the less-than-stellar special effects that lend no support to the indistinguishable grainy cinematography, particularly in an age where moviemaking is technologically sophisticated and suited for fare such as this flawed boofest.

We can skip the lack of character development because they're not important in cheesy chop-up pictures. And of course we can avoid the ubiquitous "teens in peril" scenario that's just as compelling as swallowing an innocent goldfish on a goofy friend's dare. In fact, the whole concept of a horrible hat-wearing hooligan munching on some human-made hides could have been a devilish hoot given the right emphasis of sardonic jolt. Sadly, Salva never rises to the occasion and barely stimulates his banal bloodbath beyond the lazy eye layout that it was conceived to be.

Veteran character actor Wise's "farmer-to-the-rescue" protagonist does his best to instil some credible ounce of urgency into a farcical suspense piece that's about as scary as a white polar bear rug.

The ghoulish grab bag of slice-and-dice slapstick is played out relentlessly and the movie cannot decide whether it wants to be taken seriously as a shock value entertainment or a satirical commentary on the teen terrorizing flicks.

Whatever its intention, Jeepers Creepers 2 is very laboured and inconsequential in that it doesn't bring anything new or exciting to what its first edition accomplished. Also, it certainly doesn't fortify the teen scream franchise and only serves to remind us how mediocre and middling this formula has become over the years.

There may be a Jeepers Creepers 3 on the horizon to further quench our thirst for raucous anti-social oddballs looking to loom within our scary cinematic psyches. Let's just hope that the next thing the errant Creeper does is completely attack the nonsensical script and its handlers as opposed to the on screen hapless human specimens he loves to dine on with delighted aplomb.

Frank Ochieng

(c) Frank Ochieng 2003

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