Jeepers Creepers 2 Review
Jeepers Creepers had an intriguing set-up and proceeded to simmer with the sort of suspense any horror fan craved, but it all went a little downhill when silliness took over and cliché stuck its ugly head through the door. The sequel takes that ‘silliness’, doubles it and throws a group of teens (where have we seen that before) in a been-there-done-it situation. Yet, while director Victor Salva loses his enticing premise from the original, deciding the less we see won’t equate to greater horror values, he delivers a film that loses all seriousness in favour of balls-out action and lots of imaginative deaths. Yes, it’s silly, but it’s great fun ‘silly’!
The ‘Creeper’ likes to come out of its hidey-hole every 23rd Spring to feed for 23 days, and this just happens to be the 23rd day. Unfortunately, a group of teens with their teachers end up stranded on a distant stretch of road, when their bus gets a flat tire. Cue nightfall, lots of strange noises outside, a couple of dream sequences that tie-up would-be plot holes, lots of screaming and a dead body count that just keeps increasing with every Creeper visit to the big yellow bus.
It’s all very derivative stuff, but while Salva keeps the human fodder in and around the bus, it’s hugely entertaining. The old Alien premise so brilliantly executed by Ridley Scott – the unstoppable enemy picking off each defenseless, weaponless person, one by one by one. Get the tension just right and you’re onto a winner, and Jeepers Creepers 2 has no problem doing that for sporadic periods but while Salva has proven, not once but twice, that he is capable of delivering the thrills and the suspense, he doesn’t seem capable of sustaining it for the full duration of the film.
It’s clearly down to him directing his own screenplays, and the fact he runs out of ideas in the writing stage and simply cannot make up for them when he sits down behind the camera. When the surviving members get off the bus later on in the film, Jeepers Creepers 2 loses its way. It’s difficult to know what’s going on, it’s difficult to know who to care about, and the wide expanse of the countryside loses the sense of claustrophobia the bus offered.
That said, most of the action takes place on the bus, and the film is all the better for it. Some good surprises jump out of the shadows and Salva gets quite creative in the way he disposes of his characters. Awfully helpful dream sequences don’t slow the pace, and the intensity between many of the characters helps keep the tension high, but the director struggles to maintain so many people within the story and consequently none of the performances standout. He does however orchestrate a superb scene involving the Creeper slowly moving around the bus, peering in to chose its victims. This is certainly the film’s highlight.
Jeepers Creepers 2 will only appeal to those that don’t mind derivative horror, and those that liked the original, but after a slow start and a finale that loses its way, the middle section has lots to enjoy.
The film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and anamorphic enhanced. Most of the film takes place at night and looks exceptionally good on DVD, displaying a sharply defined image that has depth and a lot of detail. The daylight scenes, photographed with a lot of rich colour providing that mid-west, Texas Chainsaw feel, do at times appear a little glaring, but this doesn’t represent a distraction.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is excellent throughout, utilising the directional capabilities of the medium to great effect. The front speakers receive a good workout while the rear channels offer some impressive sounds. The sub-woofer is a little weak, but when it’s really called upon, it does deliver.
To pick special features you have to wait until the torch light lights up the feature you want. This idea is far too gimmicky and becomes annoying.
Screen-specific feature film commentaries - There are two commentaries available on the disc. The first entitled the ‘Creeper Commentary’ features actor Jonathan Breck, storyboard artist Brad Parker, and Make-up Effects Supervisor Brian Penikas. This focuses mainly on the technical side of the film, but is an enjoyable listen as the three speakers are clearly proud and enthusiastic about what they produced. The second commentary is with some of the cast members and writer/director Victor Salva. This contains a lot of anecdotes from the set but with so many speakers it can be a little confusing and distracting.
Deleted Scenes - This 15 minute selection of deleted material is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, edited together as a narrative driven montage. The scenes are not obtainable separately and largely contain nothing of great interest.
Making Of Jeepers Creepers 2 - This is split into six sections each looking at various aspects of the production. The total length of the behind-the-scenes featurette’s is about 70 minutes, with the opening 14 minute introduction and the ‘A Day In Hell’ featurette being the most worthwhile.
Trailers - A Theatrical trailer, Teaser and TV Spots are available, with several forced promotional trailers when the disc is first loaded.
Jeepers Creepers 2 is surprisingly good but never lives up to such movie poster quotes as the ‘best horror film of our generation’. Approach it expecting nothing more than fun, entertaining suspense that doesn’t outstay its welcome, and the film shouldn’t disappoint. Whilst the DVD navigation system is poor, it does contain a few interesting additional features.