If you chose not to get tickets to the only night that Jeepers Creepers 3 would be in theaters, congratulations, you dodged a bullet. As most movies go, the sequels tend to make things worse with the more numbers they add to the end; especially with horror. I’ve been keeping my eye on this one for years as it was continually rumored on IMDB forums (R.I.P. – but that’s another post for another time). Victor Salva finally decided it was time to revive The Creeper (aka Victor’s alter ego). I have something lined up to discuss the directors background a little more, but for this post I’d like to focus on the movie. I’m going to keep the spoilers to a minimum but be warned there will be a few minor ones.
The Good: If you watched the first Jeepers Creepers and remember The Creeper’s badass meat wagon – it’s back. Not only is it back but it’s got all sorts of fun little devices that make his hunting just a little more vicious. Plus, I think it answers a few questions as to why nobody has ever made it out of the truck alive, even if they went in as such. It does make you suspend disbelief a bit with some of its features and make you ask yourself more than a few questions; but then again, you’re also watching a movie about a winged creature that regenerates parts from eating people, so remember that.
Speakin’ of that handsome devil, I think he looked much better in this than in Jeepers Creepers 2. He just looked like some weird, naked lizard and I appreciate that they made an effort to rectify that a bit in the new movie. Most of the characters in this aren’t much to speak of nor do any of them have the kind of charm that Justin Long had in the first but there were a couple worth mentioning. The Creeper hunting squad leader (Danny) is a pretty likable fellow along with his counterpart Sgt. Tubbs who provides some comic relief.
The Bad: Usually when a character is added in as comic relief it’s because the movie is too heavily weighing in one specific direction and needs the levity. The problem with the comic relief in Jeepers Creepers 3 is that the whole movie felt like more of a comedy than a horror and it didn’t need the extra comic relief added in. Some of the laughs were intentional, but I found that people were laughing at parts of the movie not intended to be (usually from bad slow-motion scenes). The whole movie reeked of a straight to video or bad SyFy original. It’s very unfortunate that this movie fell so far from the tree, where the first delivered true terror and an atmospheric creepiness that resonated for days.
After 14 years I was shocked that this movie felt rushed and underbudgeted. Not rushed in the sense that the pacing was too fast but just that the story seemed disjointed right out of the gate. It kicks off with “23 years later” but then immediately puts you in the aftermath of when The Creeper flew off at the end of the first one. By the end it segues into the second movie.
Now, it’s been some years since I’ve watched Jeepers Creepers 2 but I don’t recall any of the kids on the bus knowing what the fuck it was they were actually dealing with (other than the girl who had the vision of Derry). I have a bone to pick here; why would one of the surviving kids of this attack not immediately tell everyone, “oh shit I just dealt with this thing like a day ago!”. It’s bad storytelling is what it is, and an unnecessarily shoehorned way to connect all three movies. Then before they roll credits, it turns out the “23 years later” part is intended to indicate the person who narrated the beginning and end. It then leaves it somewhat open for another installment. Which, bad news Victor, but I don’t think that’s happening any time soon. Rant over.
This sequel didn’t add on anything that we didn’t already know. I can get on board with a sequel so long as it expands upon what we already know, even if it’s just a little bit. I wasn’t expecting to find out where The Creeper went to school and learned all of his nifty sewing tricks, but at least throw your audience a bone every now and again. All we really learn is that it (he?) apparently gets very sad and goes on a crow genocide when he has to destroy old limbs. Which I won’t spoil exactly what’s involved with that, but I’ll just say the fact that this plot device wasn’t used to give the audience a little more history into The Creeper was a huge miss.
The Judgment: At this point it’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan of this movie. It failed to deliver on multiple fronts which makes me reconsider why they really gave this a limited release. I could have forgiven some bad CGI and slow-motion effects for a good, creepy story. I’m hoping that the next sequel for this movie stays on forums as a theory and never makes it to production. If you’re really curious and were a fan of the other two movies, it might be worth the couple bucks you’ll pay at Redbox for a bad horror movie night.