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"Jeepers Creepers"/"Jeepers Creepers 2"

Both films directed by Victor Salva.
Both films written by Victor Salva. 
Starring Jonathan Breck.
Release Year: 2001 and 2003 
Review Date:  9/1/03 


So, in anticipation of the new horror flick “Jeepers Creepers 2”, I watched the first film in the series (which I had not seen) on The Movie Channel the day before seeing the sequel.  Then, I ran out to see the sequel, which made more money over the weekend ($18 million) than it cost ($17 million), which means only one thing:  part three sooner than later!  Impressions of the first two... 

"Jeepers Creepers"

I had remembered my cousin Ronnie telling me that for some reason, he was shocked that “Jeepers Creepers” was actually a decent horror flick.  Not believing him, I skipped the film for the last two years.  But, some of my horror film friends seemed to agree with Ron’s assessment, so maybe, just maybe, he might be right...but, I still waited.  With the sequel on deck, I finally bit the bullet, and damn—“Jeepers Creepers” is actually not too shabby!

I think it is this surprise that fuels a solid 85 minutes of good times.  See, the deal is that “Jeepers Creepers”--where a brother and a sister discover a crazy guy that is dumping bodies near a house off the highway--doesn’t really deserve to be any good, but the pacing, the scares, the long silences and the engaging leads dig it out of oblivion and make it a strong ride for a while.  I will be the first to admit that the initial decision by teens Darry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Phillips) is just fucking clichéd stupidity:  check out just what the crazy guy is doing dumping the dead bodies down a pipe in broad daylight instead of running to call the cops.  But, if you can get by that, good times are had.  It’s short, it has a good ending, and it has a couple of decent kills in there for good measure.  Just don’t go in there expecting “Scream” or “Halloween” or anything of that caliber.

Rating:  Matinee

"Jeepers Creepers 2"

I imagined seeing “Jeepers Creepers 2” with either my brother, “Dave” Bell, or my old roommate Keith “Dawg” Karem, and walking out of the theater with or both of them would have immediately screamed out

“That was DOGSHIT”

and I would have laughed my ass off.  As it was, I had to curse to myself for thinking there was even a chance that this sequel--fueled by even fewer name actors than the first film--would be any good.  Shit through and through, “Jeepers Creepers 2” takes place in 2001, just days after the events of the first film and near the end of that crazy guy’s ability to eat human flesh for 23 days before going underground for 23 more years.  In fact, it’s day 21, and the Creeper (Jonathan Breck) snatches the son of a farmer (Ray Wise) for a little snack before feeding on a hapless bus of basketball players on their way back from a state championship game.  The farmer, naturally pissed off at that nasty Creeper, sets off after it, and in the process tries to save the remaining kids stuck on that bus.

But, the plot is worse than that, because the Creeper spends almost a third of this film not killing anyone, and I don’t come to see horror films for cat-and-mouse suspense, I come to see folks get their heads lopped off.  So, you would think that writer/director Victor Salva would give me something else to chew on between kills, right?  Wrong.  The kids on the bus are boring macho types that have almost nothing interesting to say.  In a large horror film no-no (the first film was guilty as well), there is no sex or nudity, and the laughs are few and far between.  We learn nothing more about the history of the Creeper, so there isn’t even more backstory to give us...and, we have a ridiculous sideplot with a psychic on the bus that just seems to know what’s going on all too easily.

Bad.  Just bad!

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09