When Jeepers Creepers opened on Labor Day weekend of 2001, it shattered records and expectations. It had the biggest Labor Day gross ever at $15.8 million, on its way to a respectable $37.4 million. Sure, Labor Day weekend, which marks the end of the summer blockbuster season, is generally considered the worst movie weekend of the year, but hey, a record is a record, right? So, given this modest success, writer/director Victor Salva was tapped to do a sequel. Wow, do I wish he didn't.
There are three things that are good about this movie, but they are so minor that they don't even merit a half a star, so I'll just get them out of the way real quick. First, they went the Rocky route with the story, starting this movie out right after the first one ends. I'm glad they went this way instead of doing it 23 years after the first movie takes place. If you're not familiar with the first movie, this Creeper guy/thing (Breck) comes out every 23rd spring, for 23 days and he gets to eat people to make him stronger. But they started the movie on the 22nd day of his binge, where he goes after a young boy, then a football team, which I think works as opposed to going 23 years into the future. Second, Salva is a pretty slick director, which was shown in the first movie, but not enough in the second. He's pretty good with the Creeper and takes some interesting angles sometimes. Third, the very end is pretty decent, and, of course, they set it up for yet another sequel. Lets hope, if Salva decides to resurrect his Creeper, he'll go about it a totally different way. OK, all downhill from here.
The acting here has a Waiting for Guffman kind of feel for it, meaning everyone here acts about as good, or worse then the amateur actors that Eugene Levy and Co. portray in the film. Everything is overaccentuated, hollow and feels like you're watching a high-school puppet show instead of a Hollywood movie. Almost every actor here is a no-name actor, and if this suggests anything, it's that they should stay no-name's. I'd give you their names, but why? Jonathan Breck, the only name worth mentioning, has a decent all-around presence as The Creeper, so I guess he gives the best performance in the movie. But it's pretty sad that the best performance of a movie comes from a character that doesn't even utter a single line.
In the first movie, all of the information that we get about The Creeper and his ways comes from a second-rate Miss Cleo type named Jezelle. So, you'd think she'd be in the sequel, right? Of course not. So here we have all these kids that have no idea what this thing is that's stalking them. How do they get the information they need to take down the Creeper? In the corniest possible way, by picking a random character and giving her these Final Destination-like visions that tells her about this thing that wants her, and her friends for dinner. The whole vision scenario seems hastily thrown together, like they realized at the last minute that Jezelle isn't there and they need a device to give these kids some knowledge on the Creeper.
The script, if there actually was one, has some major problems with it, besides the timeframe of the movie and the very end. Aside from the dreadful dialogue, there is zero development with the Creeper character. In the first movie we're told that it's this thing that eats people to make it stronger. That's about it. We are told nothing of where it came from, or even the vauguest idea of how this creature came to be. How was it created? A cross-breeding gone wrong between an NBA power foward and a wasp? Todd McFarlane was bored one day? Republicans? Give us something. Anything. From the small amount of characteristics we are given about the Creeper, there could be many cool ways to come up with why the Creeper is what he is, or how he was created, but we are given nothing, and the movie suffers for it. They didn’t even use the song, which inspired the stupid title, from the first movie. Sloppy work, my friends. Add in a dull rehash of the plot from the first movie and idiotic subplots and you have a sure-fire Razzie (opposite of the Oscars) nominee for Worst Screenplay of the Year.
OK, I'll admit that Salva can be a pretty good director. He has an interesting vision of how he wants things to look, and it, visually, turns out pretty cool in some places. But his work with this new crop of actors is just abysmal and he could use a more keen attention to detail. There's a fairly long scene where The Creeper is hanging upside down and his hat magically stays on his head for a few minutes. Minor nitpicking, yes, I know. But when a movie is so unsatisfying you recognize the smallest of errors, you've got a much bigger problem at hand.
Jeepers Creepers 2 is a movie that any film student will surely want to watch. Not because it is good in any possible way, but because it is a perfect example of what not to do when making a movie.