Thursday, October 20, 2016

In short: Jeepers Creepers II (2003)

A few days after his happy adventures in Jeepers Creepers, and just a day before the end of his 23-day eating orgy, the Creeper (Jonathan Breck) naps the younger son of of farmer Jack Taggart (Ray Wise). Take note, for Jack’ll build a custom harpoon cannon later on.

But before we get to Jack and his harpoon cannon, we get to witness the monster’s stalking of and attacks on a busload of jocks and three cheerleaders. I can barely tell these people apart, except that some guys are black, one white dude with little pig eyes is a racist and a homophobe, and one of the cheerleaders (Nicki Aycox) develops some clairvoyant powers to take care of exposition duties. There’s a bit of a sidestep into would-be Lord of the Flies territory that doesn’t even manage the standard of early The 100, and a bit of monster fighting until the film devolves/culminates in about half an hour of increasingly silly action sequences featuring Ray “Harpoon Farmer” Wise.

Usually, I’m all for sequels that aren’t exact copies of their originals, and I’m most certainly for them escalating things appropriately. Alas, the second Jeepers Creepers, again directed and – unfortunately - this time around also written by Victor Salva, is the kind of sequel that throws the baby out with the bathwater, completely misunderstanding and ignoring what was good about the first film and mostly doing the opposite. Which leads to a slightly more upmarket SyFy Original movie, and a film I probably would have enjoyed more if it – being a sequel – had not automatically invited direct comparison to the first film.

So where the first Jeepers was a film that used its monster as a mystery with increasingly bizarre powers, whose mixture of the generic and the very strange turns it into something threatening and surprising the sequel treats it as a permanently flying, mugging – Freddy Krueger style wise-cracking can’t be far off – dude in a monster suit off-handedly taking on a busload of non-entities that can replace the first one’s siblings only in number and getting into a harpoon fight with a just as wildly mugging Ray Wise (whom I buy about as much as a farmer as I’d buy myself in the role). Where the first film is actually creepy and clever, this one starts silly and becomes outright stupid early on, culminating in the whole harpoon fight sequence, which has to be seen to be believed.

Now, I’m not saying it’s not fun watching this kind of nonsense – it certainly is, particularly since Salva may not care about recreating anything of the mood of the first film but sure as hell still knows how to shoot a pretty looking picture – it’s just that this sort of nonsense is a terrible sequel to Jeepers Creepers.

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