Jeepers Creepers 2
Every 23 years, for 23 days, it gets to eat.
Written and directed by: Victor Salva
Nicki Lynn Aycox
Running length: 103 minutes
How does one make a fair and adequate judgment of a sequel? On the one hand, sequels are created within the context of their predecessors, and perhaps ought only to be thought of in terms of how they extend the original work. Without an understanding of the ideas and artistry set down in the first film, it might be impossible to correctly interpret the signals and statements that the sequel makes. Then again, a sequel is its own movie. One might say that as long as a theater charges full price for a feature length film, it should be able to stand on its own. A movie is a movie, and regardless of whether it is first or fourth in a series, it should still have a beginning, middle, and end. Whether a person has seen the original or not should be irrellevant to their appreciation of a sequel.
Good thing we straightened that out. I entered Jeepers Creepers 2 with every intention of treating myself to Jeepers Creepers 1 as research. By the time I ran desperately for the exits as though pursued by the immortal demon of terrible movies (tagline: every 23 days for an hour and 23 minutes it gets to suck), nothing could have been further from my mind. The script hurts the head, the direction hurts the eyes, and most importantly: it isn't scary.
When a high school basketball team is on its way back from winning the state championship, they run into trouble when their bus starts to get flat tires. The flat tires are caused by a mysterious claw-type device made of teeth. Also, one of the token three cheerleaders, whose purpose both in the movie and on the trip to the game seems to be to break up fights between the characters, starts to have dreams about how they are all going to die. It would be a lot scarier if the high-schoolers weren't more concerned with impressing each other with their manliness than whether or not their parts didn't get eaten by an as-yet hypothetical immortal beast.
The day before, the monster decided to visit a local farm in search of appetizers. Upon choosing the wrong farmer's boy, said farmer (Akron, Ohio native Ray Wise) decided to fight back by welding things to other things. The goal is to create a super harpoon. It is not quite certain why this man judges that a harpoon is the best way to kill a supernatural regenerating monster in comparison to other plans involving gunpowder or rocket propulsion, but maybe the farmer has seen the first movie. I mean, perhaps a Molotov cocktail or other incendiary device would be better suited to killing a supernatural flying creature who wants to eat you than the only projectile-spear-rope device in the entire Midwest, or perhaps that would have only created a supernatural flying creature who wants to eat you and who is also on fire. Regardless, rule number one in a horror movie should be: before you build a weapon out of bubble gum and seedless grapes, try to pop a cap in its ass with a weapon made by Smith and Wesson. Then again, you could always just nuke it from orbit. (It’s the only way to be sure.)
Every 23 years, for 23 days, it gets to eat, apparently as some sort of weight loss program for immortal killing monsters with wings (but if there were justice in the world, the monster would be on the subway diet: it can only eat people who have appeared in commercials for subway sandwiches). What "it" is isn't important in this incarnation of what is becoming the Jeepers Creepers Franchise, but "it" isn't looking forward to missing this opportunity to brunch before it is subjugated to slim-fast shakes and water for another 23 years. “It” wants to slim down for bikini season, or perhaps in order to get noticed and get to fight another monster (Jason vs. Jeepers Creepers is a movie that is already better than Jeepers Creepers 2). But if “it” were even slightly more intelligent, “it” might have been actually scary.
Seriously, folks, it is time for the movie critic to have a bit of a moment with the flying immortal beasts of the world. I know it’s a hard life when you only get to eat once every 23 years or so, and when you do people are always disrespecting you, trying to kill you, fighting back, and doing all manner of impolite things to ruin your dinner. How would they like it if you went and shot them in the face when they were trying to eat breakfast? Yes, I know it’s hard. But allow me to give you this piece of advice: when you get the chance to enjoy a school bus that is freshness dated and packed full of tasty teenage treats, and someone comes along and shoots you with a harpoon, don’t fly away! That’s right. If you fly off and notice you are dragging a few tons of truck, remember this: there is probably a very stupid farmer from Akron who has tied himself to that truck, while you are a very immortal monster from hell who is coincidentally also tied to the truck. Think about that for seven seconds: do you think the farmer is more scared of a really taut rope leading to you, or a suddenly slack rope leading to him getting in your belly? Do the scary thing: eat him already.
There is more to be said about a script where no one is capable of communicating with anyone else (real dialogue: “Are you the police?” “Where are you?” “No seriously, are you the police?” “I mean it: do you see any landmarks?” etc.) and whose male characters were created by spilling testosterone on a typewriter, let alone a director who seems bent on not scaring us as much as possible (scariest two moments in the film: the Texas Chainsaw Massacre preview and the Alien: Director’s Cut preview) and making us wish they would all die so we could go home and do something else. But I will leave those to another noder who doesn’t have to go to his other job right now.