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Jeepers Creepers 2

  Jeepers Creepers 2
Teens contemplate what's scarier: being eaten by The Creeper, or going back to high school.

© 2003, MGM
All Rights Reserved

Every 23rd spring, over 23 days, The Creeper comes out to feast. A giant, winged creature with a taste for teen boys, The Creeper has come across a broken down school bus filed with a victorious high school basketball team returning home. Over the course of one night, The Creeper attempts to eat all of the kids inside the bus one by one, forcing the children to use their limited intellect to try and stop him from succeeding. The teens' only hope? A farmer (Ray Wise, "Twin Peaks," doing his best with what he was given) who lost a son to the Creeper, and intends on exacting revenge.

"Jeepers Creepers" was a small hit in the late summer of 2001. A cheap production made to cash in on the dearth of horror films, "Creepers" caught some attention with its careful, slowly realized opening act, and the punch of its unexpected twist ending. I wasn't too terribly keen on what writer/director Victor Salva was doing with "Creepers," with its spineless, self-referencing screenwriting, and two lead actors (Gina Philips and Justin Long, who cameos here) who gave a whole new meaning to the acting term "indication." The story itself also left something to be desired, cheating its way with "psychics" to clarify the action, and a monster without any set rules to follow. Salva tried for mystery and failed, so how does he make it up to us for the sequel? He heaps on the action.

For those that remember "Creepers," it took a good 45 minutes to actually find a pulse. "Creepers 2" (IMDb listing) pretty much hits from the get go, launching Creeper attack sequences one after the other, hoping quantity will replace quality. "Creepers 2" is a mixture of "Jaws" and Hitchcock's "Lifeboat," with the action taking place almost entirely in the broken-down school bus where the half-naked, jittery teens lay in wait for death. "Creepers 2" has a nice premise to work with, but leave it to Salva to screw things up again. Choosing another set of overacting teen actors, Salva gives them nothing but crud to work with, including painful, often comedic (hey, this is horror!) dialogue and appalling characterizations. Oh, it's all here: "The Coach," "The Nerd," "The Racist Jock," and "The Psychic." Again with the psychic! Salva should just hang a sign on this character that reads "I explain the plot every 15 minutes." That would be a lot easier than trying to explain why this character suddenly has psychic powers. And for the record, that never happens.

Those coming to "Creepers 2" looking for answers to the mystery behind the monster in question might be better off skipping this chapter. Horror franchises usually spend the second installment of the series to open up the backstory behind the boogeyman. "Creepers 2" does quite the opposite, almost entirely ignoring the fact that the audience doesn't really have a clue what The Creeper is all about. This leaves Salva open to pull any plot twist he desires, and he often does. The Creeper tears off his own head? Well, he grows a new one. The Creeper spent thousands of years hunting prey, yet can't break into a school bus he's "hunting"? At this point, if The Creeper turned "Transformers'" style into an automobile, I would not have blinked twice. Far be it from me to suggest cohesion in the "Creepers" saga, but after being burned so badly by the first installment, I was hoping Salva was going to provide more answers, or at least some semblance of continuity to the first film. No such luck.

Because so many people rejected the original "Creepers" ending, Salva doesn't try to pull any tricks this time out. He leaves things more standard, attempting to give audiences what they expect. "Creepers 2" doesn't have the sting the first film had, so the ending falls into line with the rest of the film: one big yawn.

Filmfodder Grade: D-

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