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Review Jeepers Creepers (2001) and Jeepers Creepers II (2003)

genre: horror

Jeepers Creepers 3 was released in the cinemas a month ago which I wasn't aware of but it motivated me to watch the previous films first. I do remember catching some of them on television but until now I never had felt the need to watch them properly since to me they seemed like average horror titles. But now I have done so and here are my thoughts.

Jeepers Creepers (2001)

If a mysterious brown truck is chasing and trying to drive you off the road you are probably dealing with a lunatic or worse. Why on Earth would you then get it in your mind to investigate the person's property?

A brother and sister can't help themselves to make one stupid decision after another. I am curious also but if I am in the middle of nowhere with no living being in sight I would think twice to do something like that. While it's Darry (Justin Long) who came up with the brilliant idea its his sister who outshines him stupidity wise. She will seriously get on your nerves. So much so that you wished The Creeper to consume her already. Speaking of The Creeper. For at least half of the movie they keep him mysterious and ominous. You don't quite know what he is until it's revealed. Up until that moment Jeepers Creepers is full of suspense and effectively scary. Then it becomes a monster film where The Creeper goes all out and shows what he is and what he is capable of. Surprising thing is that it does manage to hold on to a sense of dread since creeper guy is quite efficient in disposing of people.

I have to admit that I went in thinking this would be an average viewing experience. But as it turns out it was quite the opposite. I was completely immersed and found myself yelling at the scream warning the idiots to watch out.

I wished I could say the same about the sequel.

Jeepers Creepers II (2003)

The sequel seemed to have the right idea for a few minutes until it forgot to apply horror basics 101. 

Instead of building up a sense of suspense and dread this film immediately starts off with The Creeper hunting and eating his victims. Sure he comes and goes as he pleases and often takes his time to stay away in between kills. But are those moments suspenseful and scary? Not really. The moments when he is gone you have to contend with characters who are mostly annoying and you really won't care for that much. I did like how the cheerleaders were far more proactive and capable than the jocks. Actually most of these athletes are nothing but window dressing and eye candy for the people who fancy that kind of thing. The homo-eroticism in this film is so obvious that it almost becomes a statement of some kind. I have no problems with it although it seemed like a concious choice of Victor Salva to do a role reversal. Does this make this fresh and innovative? Nope. I'd rather would have seen these teens actually work together as a team as suggested by the cheerleaders. So that they properly could defy and fight The Creeper. It would have made the events far more exciting.

For the most part these teens just sit and wait to be slaughtered. I am not a fan of American Football but I do keep hearing how there is a lot of tactics and strategy involved. I have seen enough sports movies where those tactics are discussed and executed usually leading the players to victory. In this film though not one of them have come up with any strategy or tactic. They are completely useless. Fortunately for them they get help from Jack Taggart Sr. (Ray Wise) who lost his youngest son in the opening sequence and it out for vengeance. But it takes a little while for him to show up and until then Jeepers Creepers II is incredibly slow and boring. The Creeper himself is enjoying the hunt and feast and is seen getting all aroused by the number of victims he has access to. I must admit that it is enjoyable to witness the tricks he has up his sleeve. Although I rather would have found out more about him and where he comes from. How exactly did he manages to get away with his feeding habits? How did he get to buy or rent a house? He seems incapable of speech. And these events play out before internet was huge and prominent as it is now so I assume he was still required to talk to people in person. Or did he just move in the houses of his victims? But if that is the case surely someone must have noticed something? It's not like he is actively masking the way he looks. What is the significance of the number 23? Does this imply the demon is bound by rules? If so, why and who exactly is enforcing these rules? How old is this demon? And why does this demon prefer men? Is he gay? There are so many questions I want answers to but that is kept a mystery.

Jeepers Creepers II is no fun at all. I was bored and annoyed how poor this sequel was, There is nothing creepy or scary about The Creeper. He will act exactly the way you expect him to. Although there was one neat moment that gives shedding skin and regeneration a whole new meaning.  But one nice moment is not enough. This sequel is nothing like the original and therefore is a giant waste of your time. Avoid!

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