ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Victor Salva

Starring:
Ray Wise/Jack
Jonathan Breck/The Creeper
Travis Shiffner/Izzie
Nicki Lynn Aycox/Minxie
PLOT-CRUNCH
Set a few days after the original, The Creeper (Breck) preys upon a stranded school bus filled with shirtless buff jocks and overly dressed cheerleaders. At the same time, a vengeful father (Wise), who lost his son to the beast is on its tail sporting a harpoon canon with the baddies name written all over it. It's feeding time!
THE LOWDOWN
FANTASIA FESTIVAL 2003 ENTRY

This sequel to the sleeper hit "Jeepers Creepers" is a minimalist creature feature at best. Nothing too complicated or ambitious going on in here. Gone is the mystery, the anticipation and the buildup of the original, replaced by some pretty straight forward flying monster stuff that owes a lot to "Jaws 2" in terms of story structure. In fact, I’m sure it was an inspiration.

On this sequel’s side, it did put out a couple of way kool horror howlers for us genre fiends to lap up (all about that growing head) as well as some effective horror imagery all around (loved the scarecrow bit). We’re also treated to more action (but less suspense) than in the first one. I loved the high flying stalk sequences, the slick kills, The Creeper's use of homemade “ninja stars” and the messy car tumbling over bits. Visual effects wise, they were much better (more money) than the ones found in the original, especially when it came to The Creeper flying...I bought it! The Creeper's design also kicked all kinds of ass. Man, is this villain chill-inducing or what? Loved the white teeth dude! Is it me or is the Creepmeister starting to look more and more like Freddy Krueger from "Nightmare on Elm Street 2"? Maybe it’s the booze rambling.

Dream sequences are an old hat convention in horror films, but here they were used effectively. They communicated the needed exposition while giving the film a different feel and rhythm. They sure were better than that damn grating psychic lady found in the previous entry whose presence was to serve the same purpose. It was also slick to see Darry (kid from the first flick) again...nice touch for the fans. The film’s most powerful jab though was the presence of Ray “great guy” Wise giving the best performance in the film and the pinch of intensity it badly needed. I was disappointed to see that even though the character of Jack was the most interesting of the lot, he got the least actual screen time. I mean, the dude had a personal vendetta against the creature-- I had something invested in him as opposed to kids…USE HIM! The flick sadly never fully capitalized on the tension and the drama that the Jack character could’ve brought to the narrative.

Which brings me to this sequel’s flaws. What was up with the amateurish characterization? Apart from Nicki Lynn Aycox (Minxie), who made her character stand out via her solid performance, I didn’t give a shite about any of the paper thin Gap-brats in this ball park. That considerably lessened the stakes of the events for me as well as their intended tension. It didn’t help that I freakin' giggled at the pathetic and, at times, redundant dialogue that arose or the made up street slang that was spat out. What in Mickey Rourke’s name is a “cock the walk”? Like really…what the hell does that mean? Anyone? I don’t care either.

The sad attempts at addressing weighty themes via subtext also had me rolling on the floor like an epileptic on cocaine. There’s some supposed dramatic “tension” in the film where one of the jocks is being accused by his peers of being gay. Oooooooo! What was the point of slapping that in there? Was that supposed to be considered as substance? I almost hurled! If you’re going to play that game, then play it right or don’t do it at all. Here, it felt tacked on and unnecessary. The same can be said about that slight “racial conflict” garbage. Didn’t buy it or care for it as it brought NATHING to the movie or the characters. I’ve seen cooking shows with more impact.

Now although I loved some of the action set pieces, they all started to feel the same after a while. I mean, this sequel pretty much had double the budget than the first one did and I expected it to go way further in the physical jamboree department. There are just so many times I can see The Creeper flying about, picking male teens off the ground for a romantic flight before it gets "blah". An exciting car chase, some gunfights, a pair of nude lesbian cheerleaders or a heavy fistfight would’ve been appreciated by yours truly. I also missed the truck The Creeper drove in the first one and that oh-so swaying honk it emanated. Where was the man’s ride?

Lastly, Salva took his own love for hot guys and expressed it in this flick on an even more obvious level. At a certain point, I thought I was watching soft gay erotica as opposed to a horror film. How many buff dudes do we need in one movie? Look...shirtless buff dudes are tanning! Look...shirtless buff dudes are pissing together! Look...the camera is lingering on them as if the man behind it is salivating for "Beef-Jerky!" Hey man, why aren’t the chicks tanning without their tops? Why aren’t they pissing together (not that that's my thing). BOOOOOO!! And I have to say this, I don’t know about you guys but when I take a leak outside and my friends are around...I don’t stand an inch next to them in a line, cock to cock, talking shop while I do my business. Maybe it’s just me...yes, maybe I'm a prude and I don’t like to compare knobs.

In the end, I had an okay time with "Jeepers Creepers 2", although it left me underwhelmed, but still entertained in a vacuous, one-note way. When it wasn’t feeling like a celebration of the male physique, it would come through as a mindless beastie-on-the-rampage essay: nothing more, nothing less. (Arrow sings) Jeepers Creepers, where did you get that screenplay? Jeepers Creepers, let another screenwriter write Part 3!
GORE
We get some gouged out eyes, stabbings, a spike in the eye (nice one), impalings, a decapitation (another groovy one) and The Creeper growing a new head (slick stuff). There are enough fly goodies to quench the latex craving in all of us.
ACTING
Ray Wise (Jack) didn’t say much in the film, but his interior monologues could be felt. The man is one intense mofo and subsequently, became my favorite character in the film. Jonathan Breck (The Creeper) had fun with the role and gave The Creeper a tad more personality. He’s now a flirt, too! Travis Shiffner (Izzie) played an annoying, insecure jock and did it well, because I wanted to deck him. Nicki Lynn Aycox (Minxie) made her inane dialogue sound good due to her stellar delivery. Good work hun! The rest of the teen cast was adequate-- too bad the shoddy dialogue made them look bad.
T & A
We get lots and lots and lots of shirtless young male teens. What about us heteros, Salva? WHAT ABOUT US? The selfish streak continues…
DIRECTING
I dug the cinematography on display, Salva’s use of slow motion, his random creative shots and his brilliant use of silence to amplify the momentum of a scene. The stalk sequences were also well put out and he got me with a couple of boo scares too! Good job!
SOUNDTRACK
The score by Bennett Salvay came through in the creepy department and supported the action sequences perfectly.
BOTTOM LINE
"Jeepers Creepers 2" is a simple, good looking, decent time at the horror drive-In with a couple of potent jolts, kool visual effects, a scary monster and an effective, if underused, Ray Wise. See it at a matinee or on video. Now, I want to share this: I finally grasp what the Jeepers Creepers movies are REALLY all about. The Creeper is a flying psychotic man who happens to be gay. He’s on the hunt for young males, to eat, use their body parts and staple nude on his wall. Think Jeffrey Dahmer, but with wings. The Creeper has no interest in girls, likes to flirt with his future male conquests before picking them up (like winking at them or smiling) and although the films tells you that when he sniffs the air, he’s smelling your fear...we all know that he’s really smelling crotch (remember Darry’s undies in the first? He had a field trip with those!) Everything makes sense now.
BULL'S EYE
The budget for this film was $17-18 million clams, which is about $7-8 million more clams than they had on the first one. Where did they spend it all? Tanning oil for the male actors, perhaps?
Strikeback
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4:15PM on 01/21/2009
Wasn't as much story as the first, but it was still decent enough.
Wasn't as much story as the first, but it was still decent enough.
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