JEEPERS CREEPERS 2
Directed by Victor Salva
Produced by Tom Luse
Written by Victor Salva
Director of Photograpy Don E. FauntLeRoy
Music by Bennett Salvay
Cast: Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Eric Nenninger, Nicki Lynn Aycox & Billy Aaron Brown
2003/104 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the MGM Home Entertainment DVD
We all know that sequels offer little promise of quality, especially in this age of direct-to-video cheapies which offer the same inane trash over and over. But, when a secondary effort comes from the same production team (writer, director, producer, etc.) one has a glimmer of hope that the film will at live up to, if not surpass, the first movie. JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 had most of the same group working behind the camera, but, I'm sad to say, I didn't have the same reaction to this film that I did to the first.
The original JEEPERS CREEPERS introduced us to The Creeper (Jonathan Breck), a winged, demonic creature which emerges every 23 years to feed for 23 days. As JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 opens, this cycle is reaching its conclusion. A group of basketball players are returning from a game when their bus breaks down on a lonely stretch of highway. On further investigation, they find that the bus' tires were intentionally flattened. The Creeper then attacks the bus, and a game of cat-and-mouse begins as the students debate whether they are safer inside the bus, or seeking shelter outside. Meanwhile, Taggart (Ray Wise), whose son was taken by The Creeper, is hunting the creature, seeking vengeance.
MGM has been struggling over the past few years and outside of the JAMES BOND films and LEGALLY BLONDE, hasn't had many hits. So, when JEEPERS CREEPERS scored a solid haul at the box-office ($37 million versus its reported $10 million budget), MGM quickly moved to get a sequel underway. I can only imagine that they called writer/director Victor Salva and said, "We want a JEEPER CREEPERS 2! Do you have any ideas?" To which Salva probably responded, "Yeah, I have ideas, but no script." And MGM said, "Great! Start shooting!" I base this fictional conversation on the fact that JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 feels very rushed, offers zero character development and has basically no story. And the movie uses one of the cheapest, most unbelievable plot devices ever to get the characters in the film up to speed on The Creeper's M.O. Oh yeah, and when did The Creeper become a ninja/weapons designer?
I don't know about you, but based on the events of the first film, I had high hopes and certain expectations from JEEPERS CREEPERS 2, and none of these were met. I wanted to know more about THE CREEPER and see more of that church basement, but we get none of that. (Actually, I had an idea for the movie which was much better than this movie.) And while JEEPERS CREEPERS was essentially a road movie/monster movie meets TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, it did contain some original aspects. There is nothing original to be had here. The film is essentially about the kids trapped in the bus, and this is just like every other "spam in a can" movie that we've seen since NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The Creeper, who we learned in the first film hunts people for specific reasons, seems determined to kill everyone in this film, and he's shown so much that his gruesome appearance loses any effect. (And he's only in his hat and duster for a very short time. I felt that this look made him very unique.) The cast of young unknowns is OK, but the movie doesn't do much to distinguish between them. To his credit, Salva does create some great visuals during the opening and a dream sequence, but these are the only flashes of creative in this movie. A sequel to JEEPERS CREEPERS wasn't completely necessarily, but it could have made for an interesting film. The JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 that we got is dumb, pointless, and a huge disappointment.
JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 flies onto DVD courtesy of MGM Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only a minute touch of grain at times. The colors look very good and the picture has a great deal of depth. Much of the film takes place at night, but the action is never too dark. (Actually this is one of those movies where a rural field is much brighter than it would be in real life.) There is some indication of edge-enhancement, but not enough to be distracting. The DVD features a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which sound very good. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects, and shows no distortion or hissing. Surround sound effects are present throughout the film and they add a great deal to the attack scenes, as does the subwoofer response.
The Special Edition JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 DVD contains many extra features. We start with two audio commentaries. The first features writer/director Victor Salva and most of the principal cast of teenagers. Despite the number of speakers, this isn't the mess that it could have been, as Salva referees the chat and allow each of the actors to share their views on the film. Here, we learn about what went into the film and the demands of shooting mostly at night. The second commentary track features The Creeper himself, Jonathan Breck, storyboard artist/Creeper designer Brad Parker, and make-up and effects artist Brian Penikas. This talk is more technical, as the trio discusses the look of The Creeper and what went into the creation of the monster. Breck talks at length about his experiences working within the make-up. "The Making of JEEPERS CREEPERS 2" has been broken down into four sections (and there is a "Play All" feature). "Lights, Camera, Creeper" (15 minutes) is a general overview of the making of the film, which interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. "Creeper Creation" (12 minutes) shows how The Creeper make-up was applied and offers glimpses of Creeper design art. "Creeper Composer" (10 minutes) contains an interview with composer Bennett Salvay. "Digital Effects" (5 minutes) shows how the digital Creeper was seamlessly integrated into the film. A camera follows Salva through a day of work in "A Day in Hell" (27 minutes), and we get a first-hand look at what a director does. There is a 17-minute deleted scene reel (presented 16 x 9). Most of the scenes are pointless, but there is one which implies that people have been fighting creatures like The Creeper for centuries. They should have left that one in. Two more deleted scenes are offered in storyboard form -- one which shows a new Creeper lair, and the other in which The Creeper talked, but they're saving that for the third film. (That's what it really says!) The extras are rounded out by the theatrical trailer for JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 (2:35:1, 16 x 9) and two photo galleries.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©