Jeepers Creepers 2
December 6, 2001
Victor Salva, ,
Starring: Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Eric Nenninger, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Marieh Delfino, Diane Delano, Thom Gossom Jr., Billy Aaron Brown, Lena Cardwell, Al Santos, Travis Schiffner, Kasan Butcher, Josh Hammond, Tom Tarantini, ,
The Creeper is back and this time he’s hungry enough to eat an entire schoolbus full of kids.
The first Jeepers Creepers divided audiences. The first half was genuinely creepy, harking back to the straightforward chillers of the 70s. Unfortunately director Victor Salva shot his bolt too early, revealing a naff man-in-a-rubber-suit monster that destroyed the suspense. But whereas the first film had believable characters you wanted to survive, in the sequel we just get a bus full of annoying jocks who, frankly, you want to get eaten.
The film opens with farmer Ray Wise’s son being snatched by the Creeper, setting him off on a trail of vengeance. Meanwhile a schoolbus breaks down in the middle of nowhere and as the teachers are picked off one-by-one, it’s left to the football jocks and three cheerleaders to find a way to escape. Minxie receives disturbing visions warning her about said Creeper from Darry (Justin Long cameoing from the first film) whilst the jocks fight amongst themselves when the Creeper picks out certain people he wants. There’s a race theme buried in here somewhere (Scotty says he wants Double D off the bus because he’s next to be eaten, but really it’s because he’s black) but it gets lost in amongst the brutal deaths and constant screaming.
And by not having one main protagonist to carry the film (psychic cheerleader Minxie seems the natural choice, but she just falls into the background along the way, and Ray Wise only reappears in the final ten minutes), the audience doesn’t know who to root for, which means any suspense that could have been created by trapping the kids on the bus with a monster stalking them is lost. Instead we just get a by-the-numbers slaughter.
That’s not to say the film has no merit. Salva knows how to make a cinematic experience, playing with camera speeds as the Creeper chases after the bus through a cornfield, or creating eerie dream sequences where time runs in reverse. Behind The Ring, this is easily the best looking horror of last year. Just don’t go expecting Jeepers Creepers 3 any time soon. The first film was designed not to have a sequel (the Creeper awakes to feed only every 23rd year for 23 days) but Francis Ford Coppola convinced Salva to return for part two, getting around the timeframe problem by setting it a mere four days after the events in the first film. The ending for Jeepers Creepers 2 doesn’t finish things off permanantly, but it sure does make it hard to carry on. Take note: Hollywood will always find a way to reprise cash-cow franchises (Alien Resurrection anyone?).
A neat animated menu with a flashlight lingering on possible choices in the dark leads you to a host of special features almost exactly the same as the first movie had. There are some interesting extended scenes and a deleted scene where Minxie dreams about a graveyard that shows just how old the Creeper really is.
There’s an above average Making-Of, with everything covered from music to special effects, and a great mini-documentary called A Day In Hell, where a camera follows director Victor Salva through an entire shooting day. We’re reminded that film-making is far from glamorous as the actors and crew are cramped into a tiny bus set in a studio for twelve hours.
Also available are trailers and TV spots, a photo gallery, and storyboards for a Creeper’s Lair sequence that was never shot. But the best feature is the feature commentary by Salva and the self-depricating cast, who willingly point out unintentionally funny acting moments and slices of trivia that make the film itself seem far more enjoyable. The Creeper himself, Jonathan Breck is joined by the art designer and various FX boffins for a second commentary track.
The film itself may be lacking, but the DVD stands up to scrutiny.