Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jeepers Creepers 2 - 3/5

A rather impressive follow up to a more than impressive original Horror film, "Jeepers Creepers 2" takes the franchise to some exciting (and rather smart) new levels. Although not quite as solid as the first, this one admirably moves around its sequel doldrums with relative ease. Perhaps not the well crafted spectacle it could have been, its still a rather solid affair that does itself well.

It's only a few days after the events of "Jeepers Creepers" and our resident Creeper is trying to feast on as many body parts as possible before his time is up. After nabbing a farm kid whose dad becomes obsessed with hunting the beast down, the Creeper eye balls a school bus full of football players and cheer leaders with all the right fixin's. These teen lunkheads may not be such easy prey though and with the help of a hell bent farmer looking for vengeance, the Creeper is going to have his hands full. And time running out on his 23 days.

What really works for "Jeepers Creepers 2" is that, despite being just another slaughter fest for our diabolical demon like villain on its foundation, that it works really well with the first film. Making it take place only days (the actual time isn't described) after the events of the first film and throwing in all kinds of connections makes it much stronger than it should be.

The film also does itself a favor by not retreading old ground in its atmosphere. Where the first one, really focused on building a mystery and horrific discovery around the Creeper, this film forgoes that and focuses down on the urgency of the situation. Building a more isolated and tense atmosphere that stresses the 'survival horror' genre as a foundation. It works well here and its only real flaw (this is a big one though) is that it doesn't do enough to make us care about our protagonists. We aren't given near enough back story for the young team or the Creeper Hunter to truly give us motivation for their survival. There is some, but most of it is left behind.

We also get some great quirky directing/writing with its dark humor from the returning Victor Salva. His ability to blend the Clive Barker like mythos and subtle style of his own is really a highlight for both films. The acting could have been slightly stronger, that's what you get for having a 'teen' cast I suppose, but a solid performance from our farmer turned hunter is rather intriguing.

"Jeepers Creepers 2" might not be the best it could have been, some tightening of the acting and better back stories for our leads would have helped, but its a solid affair that plays out its strengths well. The Creeper is once again a fascinating villain that retains its mysterious aura and with some solid special effects (and only occasionally sub par CGI work) it works once again. It's really too bad that at this point "Jeepers Creepers 3" is placed on hold since this one showed much promise. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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