Film Reviews

JEEPERS CREEPERS 2

By • Aug 29th, 2003 •

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MGM
United Artists presents in association with Myriad Pictures an American Zoetrope production, A Victor Salva film
Running time — 106 minutes / MPAA rating: R

Madonna, 45 years old, strutted out in full lesbian dominatrix top hat regalia at the 2003 MTV VMA’s and proceeded to tongue kiss 2 beautiful young stars. Looking stern and daunting, she once again flogged her song “Hollywood.” Madonna, haven’t you ever considered stepping aside gracefully? I’m terrified of what you will think up when you turn 50.

Okay, I’ll admit it. This one is better than the first. I’m not an elitist: If it’s a good rendering of the genre, why not embrace it? The Teen Horror genre is not supposed to be bogged down with philosophical subtext or a plot that holds together realistically. You’ve got to suspend your concept of Reality going in. There are no flying monsters making a patchwork quilt of human flesh. (Well, outside of Hollywood, that is.) And, being true to the genre, nobody ever drives through miles of deserted America with a full tank of gas, inbred flesh eating savages always have better trucks, and nobody has a spare tire.

I have a nagging suspicion that in an enclosed environment be it a plane going down, a nightclub fire, a bomb blast, or being trapped in a bus pounded by a hungry winged demon, people freak out. They trample each other. There is screaming.

What I really mean is: I’d freak out.

It’s day 22 of The Creeper(Jonathan Breck)’s 23-day feeding frenzy. We join him as he swoops down on a cornfield and flies away with farmer Taggart(Ray Wise)’s young son. The farmer, assisted by his older starving son, prepares revenge by building a homemade grenade launcher-with-rope. A radio report informs us that The Creeper is somewhere sewing human bodies together.

When a big bus filled with high school football players and three cheerleaders suffers a tire blowout on East 9 Highway in Poho County, everybody is rather amused. The guys sunbathe on top of the bus and urinate as a team. Only the tough female driver and coach see that the tire blowout might not have been caused by a protruding nail in the road. The coach’s advice: Everybody stay calm and sit in the bus. Everybody obeys even when the flying monster appears. Nobody improvises a weapon. Nobody freaks out. When the driver, coach, and assistant coach get picked off by The Creeper, a sullen teen bogs down the horror at hand by continually expressing his homosexual fear of his teammates. The stuck-inside-the-bus high jinks then explore the racial tensions of the team.

How to fight the flying demon is never really discussed. Thankfully, The Creeper cleverly torments the teens by flirting and winking at certain teens. He’s got preferences! He might be gay! This ratchets up the tension in the bus. Throw those selected kids off the bus to fend for themselves or band together? Who was he eyeing anyhow? There’s some confusion.

Writer/director Victor Salva has a definitive eye and cruel streak. Whether exorcizing a well-publicized shameful past or just safely exploiting it now, JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 has an underlying creepiness that works. While none of the teens are given enough to make their characters memorable, The Creeper shows a lot of personality. Salva uses his bigger budget to concentrate on the Creeper and the flying demon now joins the pantheon dominated by Alien. Salva’s next task? How to get The Creeper to talk.


Credits:
Director-screenwriter: Victor Salva
Producer: Tom Luse
Executive producers: Francis Ford Coppola, Bobby Rock, Kirk D’Amico, Lucas Foster
Director of photography: Don E. FauntLeRoy
Production designer: Peter Jamison
Editor: Ed Marx
Costume designer: Jana Stern
Visual effects supervisor: Joanthan Rothbart
Special effects makeup: Brian Penikas
Music: Bennett Salvay

Cast:
Taggart: Ray Wise
The Creeper: Jonathan Breck
Billy Taggart: Shaun Fleming
Scott Braddock: Eric Nenninger
Deaundre “Double D” Davis: Garikayi Mutambirwa
Minxie Hayes: Nicki Aycox
Andy “Bucky” Buck: Billy Aaron Brown
Rhonda Truitt: Marieh Delfino
Chelsea Farmer: Lena Cardwell

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