Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The 23rd Day: Jeepers Creepers II (2003)

Jeepers Creepers II (2003)
Rating: ***
Starring: Jonathan Breck, Ray Wise, Nicki Aycox

Back in 2000, controversial director Victor Salva introduced one of horror's modern icons. A fresh concept of a monster simply dubbed as The Creeper, notoriously known for hunting victims to eat certain the parts that it likes from them and uses said munched parts to replace its own whenever needed.

Another discernible trait about this creature is this rule: it's only awake for every 23rd Spring, for 23 days, a rule Salva thought up to make sure his movie wouldn't get butchered for sequels.

But then, here we are; reading a review about a sequel that existed thanks to loop holes.

Days after the original movie, it is the 23rd day of the Creeper's cycle and it had chosen a busload of jocks, cheerleaders and other miscellaneous munchables as its final meal before slumbering for the next 23 years.

Trapping the youngsters at an abandoned highway by repeatedly slicing their bus' tires with home-made throwing stars (made from welded sharpened bones), the Creeper strikes at nightfall, effortlessly doing away all the adults that could defend them and taking its time to pick a prized meal.

As the teens tries their best to defend themselves, little do they and the Creeper know is that a distraught father and brother of a previous victims is not too far ahead, hellbent on taking revenge on the monster with a home-made weapon.

While the first movie started out as a typical slasher movie being venturing into a monster flick, Jeepers Creepers II molded the two sub-genres into a workable mix, with the Creeper taking a spotlight more often now than it did in its last outing, showing off how more than a simple maniac it is. And true enough, we get to see how the horrid creature operates and how skilled it is on what it does, ranging from creating weapons from human parts to an impressive demonstration of how exactly the Creeper replaces parts it lost.

Much of the story takes place inside the bus, with a claustrophobic atmosphere and much survival drama driving the film forward into an satisfyingly high-octane climax involving a harpoon and a hobbled Creeper desperate to devour some limbs. Until then, the movie hobbles in balancing scares and characterization, much of it missing than hitting as while there are some interesting scenes, there weren't that many interesting characters.

With so many victims to choose from, the Creeper only manages to kills off at least 3 to 4 on camera; hardly impressive or satisfactory seeing most of the count were offscreen "implied" murders (the worse movie type of slasher movie kill of all), the running time clocks a near two hours, and now that we know the thing can wield weapons. Those characters that were given a chance to act out more than their nameless teammates either ended up being jerks, bickering with one another, or have random visions foretelling them what they are up against, seemingly out of nowhere, making them unlikely to be all that root-worthy.

Then again, they are stuck inside disabled bus in the middle of nowhere with a hungry demon outside waiting to eat them; panic can bring out the worst of people so I am giving the unsatisfactory characterization a slide. Save the random vision. Seriously, it's like Final Destination all over again.

At least the monster effets was well worth it, especially with the amazing make-up that are a step above from the last movie, and all of those flying scenes. Cinematography is competent enough to make this movie look professional and add some interesting take on the mythos from time to time.

It may not be as creepy or scary as the first film (and I'm not saying it isn't), Jeepers Creepers II made it worthwhile being an entertaining monster-slasher hybrid. While it could had done better by adding some more action pieces or a few worthy deaths in the middle to keep the momentum strong, the fact that it had more Creeper being otherworldly and out of the shadows, it does deserves its fans and a chance to be seen for fun.

1 boy killed, later seen with head wound
1 male snatched away killed
1 female snatched away, killed
1 male snatched away, killed
1 male and 1 female missing, presumably killed
1 male had his head cut off
1 male hit on the head with a throwing star
1 male snatched away, killed
1 male missing, presumably killed
1 male crushed inside a toppling car, immolated in explosion
Total: 11

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