ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 4, 2003
The first Jeepers Creepers movie (2001) started out promisingly, with suspenseful scenes involving a sinister character dumping bodies and a Duel-like truck-from-hell chase scene. But half an hour through it turned into a routine, monster-on-the-rampage gore flick about a winged man-beast that, every 23 years, has 23 days to feast on whomever it finds.
The new Jeepers Creepers doesn’t wait 30 minutes to get to the gooey bits. Shortly after a young boy gets snatched out of a corn field by the Creeper (returning Jonathan Breck), the ravenous being sets its sights on a busload of snacks in the form of a high-school basketball team and its female cheerleading squad. Disabling the bus on a deserted country road using ninja-type throwing stars embedded with human teeth and bellybuttons, the creature starts devouring the passengers like sardines from a can.
The most memorable part of the movie comes when one of the braver pompon pushers thrusts a javelin against the roof of the bus and spears the marauding menace right through the eye. The yuck quotient reaches new heights as the confused fiend slides the javelin back and forth through its head before busting off a sizable chunk of skull. No problemo! It just reaches down, yanks the noggin off one of the unlucky jocks, and uses that!
Meanwhile, the corn-field kid’s justifiably pissed-off father (Ray Wise from Twin Peaks) has been busy transforming a post-driving machine into a massive harpoon and mounting it on his pickup. He’s fitted the weapon’s tip with a bizarre knife found at the scene of his late son’s abduction, one that flies through the air under its own power (and for no apparent reason). The blade doesn’t have much effect when shot into the chest of its previous owner, but it does allow writer-director Victor Salva a brief homage to Jaws as the harpoon line unspools at alarming speed to show the awesome power of the skewered demon.
Salva’s truck-tossing action scenes are nicely shot, but the most noticeable contributors to JC2 are its makeup and sound-effects crews, which respectively pile on the gruesome goop and slurpy noises. Near the end of the movie, Wise’s updated Captain Ahab desperately tries to kill the downed Creeper by viciously stabbing it over and over, until he’s exhausted. Then he punctures it a few more times, just to be sure.
Of course, the thing doesn’t actually die. It just folds up its face and hibernates for another 23 years, or at least until the inevitable Jeepers Creepers 3: More Goo for You.