Writer-director Victor Salva's inevitable follow-up to the surprise success JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001) picks up immediately after the events of the first film, in which a mysterious demon the Creeper emerges from its cyclical hibernation to devour unwary country folk. The sequel opens on the Taggart family farm, where tow-headed Billy (Shaun Fleming), his father, Jack (Ray Wise), and older brother, Jack Jr. (Luke Edwards), do chores and bicker genially. The cornfield ripples, birds caw, scarecrows are silhouetted against the blue, blue sky. And then the bucolic idyll is brutally shattered by screams: Someone more properly something in a long, dark duster is loping through the corn, dragging the terrified Billy like a rag doll. The older Taggarts watch helplessly as the Creeper spreads its bat-like wings and takes to the air, clutching the doomed youngster in its scaly claws. Credit where credit is due: This is one hell-bound grabber of a lean and mean opening. The second opening, which initiates the main story, is less compelling: A school bus filled with high school basketball players and their entourage rolls down the deserted East 9 Highway, radio abuzz with reports of a cache of bizarrely mutilated bodies discovered beneath a local house. The kids are oblivious, preoccupied with clichéd teen stuff the game they just won, the arrogance of star player Scott Braddock (Eric Nenninger), the sexual orientation of school reporter Izzy "is he or isn't he" Bohen (Travis Schiffner) until the bus is deliberately crippled, stranding them in the rapidly darkening middle of nowhere. The Creeper picks off the adults and toys with the teens, leering and clattering and apparently picking out the victims for whom it plans to return. Cheerleader Minxie (Nicki Aycox), who's been having convenient psychic dreams, shares what she knows about the Creeper's origins and intentions, and then it's Lord of the Flies time. The youngsters split up into the all-for-one/one-for-all group and the every-man-for-himself brigade, and the Creeper snacks on their tasty young flesh. An excess of lingering special-effects shots Salva wisely kept the Creeper in the shadows for much of the first film and too many undifferentiated teens in peril undermines this landlocked variation on LIFEBOAT (1944). But the film delivers a few slick thrills before beaching itself on an ending that would be chilling if its depiction of unimaginable horror's lingering legacy weren't so muddled.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: R
- Review: Writer-director Victor Salva's inevitable follow-up to the surprise success JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001) picks up immediately after the events of the first film, in which a mysterious demon the Creeper emerges from its cyclical hibernation to devo… (more)