Saturday, December 2, 2017

The 22.5th Day of Spring: Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)

Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Stan Shaw, Gabrielle Haugh, Brandon Smith

Every 23rd Spring, for 23 days, a flesh-eating flying humanoid simply known as The Creeper goes to hunt, kill and eat the victims it frightens for parts that it likes.

This is a key lore established within the first Jeepers Creepers movie back at 2001 and it was meant to discourage any sequels from ever happening. The sleeper success of this slasher/monster hybrid, however, meant bending the rules or at least finding some loopholes, thus comes Jeepers Creepers II two years later, wherein most of the plot takes place within the 23rd day of the monster's feeding cycle. This on its own also meant seeing The Creeper up and murdering folks for yummy bloody nibblets in another movie will be a further stretch, which again should have killed off any more chances of another follow-up from being developed. (Unless, of course, some producer and/or director will be patient enough to wait exactly 23 years later to bring back The Creeper. If that is true, Hollywood probably ran out of ideas by then...)

Talks about a third film, however, still persisted with ideas ranging from it being a possible prequel taking place in the Old West (which in itself sounds awesome) to a possible time jump 23 years later wherein the surviving girl from the first movie is now a grown adult plotting revenge against The Creeper. Now, in 2017, we somehow get a Jeepers Creepers 3, fourteen years since the last film all the way back in 2003. Looking back at films like Psycho II (1983) or, in a meta kind of way, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), there is a chance that it will be great, if not just good, right? Right?


...Yeah, why the hell would it be?

Jeepers Creepers 3 is a film that's probably quite difficult to follow unless you've seen the first two in the franchise as it takes place slab-dab in the middle of both in terms of continuity. It starts just minutes or hours after the ending of the original with a responding SWAT team surrounding The Creeper's infamous BEATINGU truck and painfully learning that it's rigged to the teeth with traps. In shock of what just and still is transpiring that night is Sgt Tubbs (Brandon Smith), who will soon find out that he is roped into something that's have been going on for years when Sheriff Tashtego (Stan Shaw) and his group of Anti-Creeper hunters show up and basically gave our sergeant a crash course of what they know about the creature so far. (Which can be easily summed up to "it eats people, it's not human and it has done this before")

As Tubbs and Tashtego join forces and plan on killing The Creeper for good the following morning, said monster busies itself by hunting down some teenagers to eat. Eventually added to its little hoard of abducted organ donors is young local horse rider Addison (Gabrielle Haugh), whose grandmother, Gaylen Brandon (Meg Foster), had a son that The Creeper murdered many years ago. Why is this little tidbit important? Well, apart from Gramma Brandon being a part of Tashtego's team and that she's sortah driven insane (or haunted, whichever one works) by a ghostly vision resembling her late boy, she also just uncovered something her son buried in their property before he got taken away. Something that might just explain what The Creeper is and she is ready to use it against our flesh-eating monster.

Seeing I am a fan of the first two films, I guess it's only fair that I start with what I enjoyed about this movie in my sincerest. First of which will be Jonathan Breck returning to don the winged monster make-up for the third time and his performance here as our humanoid hell bat-thingie is still spot-on with his takes from the previous two films, though less creeping in the shadows, less "playful", and seemingly more hands-on with its weapons. Apart from this, I also like the fact that the creature's truck kinda became its own villain as it is shown to have a level of sentience, capable of moving or defending its own via traps that are just otherwordly, unless harpoons can be installed to shoot out of working exhaust pipes, or metal spikes can drop down from truck doors out of nowhere.

Sadly, actual scenes involving the creature quickly became an issue for me as the movie's low budget and odd choice to film it in the day meant every little time we get to see The Creeper in action, we would also be constantly looking at the awfully cheap make-up effects, so much so that I can actually see how rushed and flaky it is during close-up scenes. Whatever CG done for the creature's more monstrous features (as in scenes where its wings are shown and in use, or that awkward looking "third nostril") also horribly resembles those from the worst SYFY TV movies due to the budget, much more to my further disappointment that same can be said to the BEATINGU truck's would-be wonderful cavalcade of traps, leaving many scenes that would have been pretty awesome terribly cartoonish and wrongfully hilarious. Sadly, this is only the tip of the problematic iceberg that is Jeepers Creepers 3 as the more I dwell into the movie, the further the issues I have with this sequel get sourer.

With so much going on from a gang of anti-Creeper hunters lead by a sheriff who clearly have dealt with this thing before, to a nearly-insane woman finding out that her late son buried *spoiler alert* one of The Creeper's dismembered hands that apparently has the ability to feed information about the Creeper to another individual just by touching it, clearly this third entry was trying to set us up with the origins of our monster. After all of that scaling and planning, though, not only are we not- I repeat, NOT- shown or at least hinted to what our villain is, but our supposed protagonists seemingly did little to whatever information they gained and more or less just went on attacking the monster with machine guns that we all already know will do little to the creature nor to its suddenly bulletproof truck. Now, I say "seemingly" because one of them did try to do something about what they learned and it is perhaps the dumbest shit you could ever do: leave The Creeper's dismembered hand (y'know the hand that can feed secrets about its previous owner to just about anyone via touch) on an open field, above a letter that basically says "we know what you are", for the Creeper to find and read.

Can you guess what happened next? Well, now angered that someone knows its secrets, our monster does its own impression of Star Wars Episode III Darth Vader going "Noooooo!!!!" after breaking the hand apart, leaving the rest of the world back to square one and the only idiot that perhaps knows how to kill this thing is the town loonie. So, again, instead of keeping the hand to have it pass its knowledge to more competent hunters to prepare for this thing's return 23 years later, the idiot decided to leave it in the open for the monster to find and destroy. Oh, what's that? This action serves as our protagonists' way of warning The Creeper to stay away from them since they are now armed with the knowledge on how exactly they can finish it for good? Well, what fucking good is that for because from what I just saw, The Creeper have no problem killing off those who just learned its secrets, easily landing a battle axe unto one of them. It is even hinted that our Brandon boy knew and, hell, he's dead. So, yeah, let this sink in. Let all of this fucking sink in.

This utter garbage of a finale is so hard to forgive since the rest of the movie is mostly mediocre, if not embarrassing to watch. The actors and actresses involved are okay but I couldn't ground myself to their cookie cutter personalities and flat portrayal no matter how much they flap their mouths about killing The Creeper, talking about The Creeper or even them simply talking about their daily lives before being victimized by this monster. You can only do so much exposition from one character or a group before it gets tiring. Does anything these people would matter in the end, even? I mean, this is a fucking midquel, you know damn well it's gonna fail coz that flying bat-thingie they're trying to destroy is up and stalking around in Jeepers Creepers II! (And speaking of which, really movie? You have the audacity to tie one of your characters with the group victimized by The Creeper in the second? Well that's fine and dandy except for one issue: if he had seen all of this before, why the flying fucking hell was he not doing or saying anything in the Jeepers Creepers II?!

The least this film could do is give us some good scares, monster scenes or even kills but, no. The film couldn't even afford that, nor do they have the capable brain cells to spare for at least that. Even if these Creeper movies weren't really all that focused on gory deaths, they instead try their best to work with the creep factor or otherworldly imagery, something that Jeepers Creepers 3 lacks as its tone felt rushed as if they weren't really prepared what to do in this entry. It lacks proper blood work or scares, and the kills are hardly inventive and drier than a bag of month-old trail mix.

I guess I'm being critical because I really wanted this movie to work. The first two Jeepers Creepers have a special place in my entire person as one of the few monster movies I get to grow up with. (Hell, the DVD of the first film my dad brought home one day during my grade school years still sits among my horror collection. And the best part is, it still works!...I think...I need to check up on that) Jeepers Creepers 3, unfortunately, missed a lot of marks and its overall production have this nagging feeling that they simply did this to pander to its fans but lacking a real heart and dedication to it. It's movies like this that hammers my beliefs that no franchise can ever be perfect as there will always be that one black sheep among the flock that someone will try to avoid. To the folks behind Jeepers Creepers 3? Please stay down and don't come back until 23 years later. That'll give you enough time to think about this piece of celluloid trash before you jump in to that hinted Jeepers Creepers 4 you squeezed in the end...

1 male snatched, killed offcamera
1 male snatched, killed offcamera
1 male found killed, method unknown
2 males skewered by a thrown spear
1 male snatched, killed offscreen
1 male killed, seen bloodied
1 male impaled through the head by a projected spike
1 male seen killed
1 victim stabbed with a dagger
2 males shot dead by bounced bullets
1 male gets a battle axe to the face
1 male attacked, killed offscreen
Total: 14

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