Reviewed by: Todd Campbell
Starring: Justin Long, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Ray Wise, Billy Aaron Brown | Directed by: Victor Salva | Produced by: Tom Luse | Written by: Victor Salva | Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
My parents never let my brother or me go to horror movies, mainly because they said we would not be able to go to sleep if we did go. By my freshman year of college I decided to test my newfound freedom and went to my first horror movie; unfortunately, when I got back home that night, I had to sleep with the lights on because I was scared that something would be under my bed, waiting for me to step out. My parents didn’t say, “I told you so” the next morning, but I pretty much knew they were right.
When I decided to review “Jeepers Creepers 2,” I knew I was much older than I was for my first horror flick and that I was also much wiser. I did not expect this movie to affect me as my first such movie had… and I was right. “Jeepers Creepers 2” is about the final days of a demon-like creature’s feeding frenzy and the bus of teenagers who try to survive the night. The group of basketball players and cheerleaders are returning from the State Basketball tournament as State Champions when the bus gets a flat tire. A strange four-pointed star made of bone and teeth is found inside the tire, but the group figures they can manage on five tires and continues down the road.
Much further into the night, the tire beside the current flat tire also blows out, caused by an object similar to the previous one. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, the bus driver and the coaches put out flares and send out distress vehicles via CB and cell phone, but at the time no one responds. Then one coach is suddenly snatched up, followed by the bus driver. The third coach keeps everyone on the bus and yells orders from the front door when suddenly a large pair of green talons grips his shoulders and attempts to pull him away, the only scene that actually made me jump in my seat. For the rest of the movie the Creeper snatches his prey in a variety of methods while the teenagers try to figure out how best to survive.
There are a number of morality issues, including unnecessary profanity-most of which is used before the arrival of the creature and then fades away when he actually arrives. The Creeper is the source of a number of the most disgusting images—from digesting a human head to yanking part or all of his head off so it can be replaced with another one; he is very much a demon in that he comes from and returns to the ground, he devours humans, and he can never die.
The teenagers themselves deal with a number of issues besides the Creeper, such as racism and deciding who should live and who should die; perhaps a subtle issue is that teenagers ultimately need some sort of parent figure since they panic most when the adults are gone and they feel safest when Taggart, a farmer who is hunting the Creeper, arrives with his makeshift harpoon.
Two major thoughts kept popping up while watching this movie-the teenagers were rightfully terrified by the demon-like Creeper, and “he who would lose his life shall save it; he who would save his life shall lose it.” As previously mentioned, the Creeper could not be any less a demon than in this portrayal, even with the martial arts type weapons he throws which could easily be fiery darts. He chooses his prey by smelling something in the fear each person has inside, but we are never told just what that fear is. The enemy does the same, sensing our fear and exploiting it against us, which is why every time an angel speaks in the Bible, the first words are usually, “Fear not.” Fear does not come from God, Who is love. Even Adam and Eve did not experience fear until the serpent influenced them.
Fear runs rampant throughout this movie, as with any horror flick, but most of the time that fear is rooted in trying to save one’s life. Interestingly enough, in this movie as with the few other horror movies I have seen, the characters who die are usually the ones who want to save themselves or their money or their reputations while those who are willing to sacrifice themselves are the ones typically saved.
Of the teenagers the Creeper chooses to attack, most of them escape because they are willing to sacrifice themselves for each other’s safety instead of dealing with their own—“He who would lose his life will save it; he who would save his life will lose it.” We sometimes forget that our lives do not belong to us but to God; any death we suffer here on Earth means life in Heaven for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. As a result, we are called to love, not fear.
The special effects were decent, though most of the effects dealt with the creature’s ability to fly and some of the gory images, such as a temporarily living headless human body and the creature’s self-healing ability. Otherwise there were some explosions and images of terror but nothing high budget.
The writing was decent but some situations were farfetched at best. Taggart’s harpoon was essentially a mechanical post driver with his spears hooked up to a metal cable which he used to reel in the Creeper, giving these scenes more of an “ESPN Outdoors” quality than a true battle of human and evil. Another situation that seemed a little odd was that Minxie, played by Nicki Lynn Aycox, suddenly obtains the ability to communicate with the dead just as the first bus tire blows out. Later, she goes into a psychic trance and learns everything about the creature, but she can’t explain why she suddenly has these powers. Someone had to be psychic, might as well be a cheerleader. A third oddity was that the bus radio would not work at times and then suddenly it would, eliminating the initial thought that the creature had the ability to scramble electronic equipment.
The acting was decent, but no one really stood out except for a few people who will probably use this movie as a springboard to bigger and better things. Keep an eye out for relative newcomers Nicky Lynn Aycox, Eric Nenniger, and Garikayi Mutambirwa.
Overall, this movie was not as scary, bloody, or terrifying as the previews are. No one in the audience jumped or screamed, and they had all pretty much escaped well before the end. The movie states that every 23 years the Creeper is released… hopefully the producers will wait another 23 years before the next one.
Violence: Heavy | Profanity: Heavy | Sex/Nudity: Mild