Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The WTF Happened to This Horror Movie series looks at the unpopular 2017 creature feature sequel Jeepers Creepers 3

As we’ve mentioned before in this series, horror threequels, or from any movie genre in fact, are notoriously hard to nail, in terms of quality. So, I won’t dwell for too long about which part threes have historically worked, and which should be pinned to the wall to rot like one of the Creeper’s victims. However, as we all know, dollar signs in the eyes of studio execs can be a dangerous thing, and if there’s a franchise primed and ready to be milked for all it’s worth, just one last time, those suits will make it happen. For better, or worse. Which, my dear fellow gore-hounds, brings us nicely around to a franchise that had much potential for multiple installments; Jeepers Creepers. And, yeah, I know what the title sounds like with my broad Northern England accent, so suck it up, haters. The first movie was a pleasant surprise, with a cool opening scene that paved the way for an equally cool and original villain, to lop off heads and pin corpses to walls and ceilings. The sequel, imaginatively titled Jeepers Creepers 2, followed the first movie a short two years later in 2003 and, as highlighted in our previous episode on the series, was a fun, watchable, but bang average horror flick. So, despite its long gestating development, could Jeepers Creepers 3 (watch it HERE) bring the Creeper back for a kick-ass, gory, all consuming treat with part three? Stay tuned to find out, here on WTF happened to Jeepers Creepers 3.

The great part about the first movie in the Jeepers Creepers series was that after the tension and suspense that was built up in the opening act, the reveal of the antagonist spawned a memorable villain, deserving of some decent movies. Sure, the quality of the opening film may dip slightly once the Creeper is revealed, but its mythology is fairly original and intriguing. The ancient demonic creature feeds upon human beings for twenty three days, every twenty third spring, which seems pretty excessive. Most sensible folk would settle for an all you can eat buffet at their local KFC. The Creeper eats lungs so it can breathe, eyes so it can see and basically whatever it eats, becomes part of it. The first two movies set up a series where the Creeper was positioned front and center, and despite some aforementioned flaws, they were enjoyable in their own right. A third entry should have helped to establish the mythology and provide a continuing springboard for the villain to thrive upon, then? Well, not exactly.

One person who thought a part three would be a good movie, or was at least happy with another steady paycheque, was returning writer / director, Victor Salva. As soon as the second movie was released, to less than favorable reviews, rumors of a potential part three soon began to surface, and it wasn’t too long, 2006 in fact, before it even had a working title; Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us. MGM planned to release it as a DTV title but struggled to find funding. Unfortunately, it would be stuck in development hell until the script was written by Salva with a new absolutely terrifying title; Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral and with Gina Phillips returning as ‘Trish’.

The movie was officially given the ghoulish green light to begin filming in early 2016 under Myriad Pictures. However, director Salva’s 1988 conviction for sexual misconduct with a 12 year old, meant that filming in Vancouver B.C. was halted due to talent agencies sending out a warning about his criminal past. The film eventually began production in 2017, this time in Louisiana instead of Vancouver which more closely replicated the Florida setting of the first movie. Alongside the returning Phillips, the cast also included Jonathan Breck who returned as the devilishly handsome Creeper, Stan Shaw as Sheriff Tashtego, Brandon Smith as Sergeant Tubbs, Joyce Giraud and as Deputy Lang. We also get Gabrielle Haugh as Addie plus her Grandmother Gaylen Brandon, played by Meg Foster, who’s son Kenny was killed by the Creeper and appears to his mother in eerie visions she has of him.

The threequel is set between the events of the first and second films in the franchise. The exact time period within the movie is not explicitly stated, but it is established that the story occurs during the Creeper’s feeding cycle, which as we all know by now, happens every twenty three years for twenty three days. The action picks up immediately after the events of the first movie, and tries its best to do something new and interesting with the franchise, to more than mixed results. There’s more emphasis on the Creepers’ previous human slaughtering vacation from twenty years ago, both with the living and supernatural. The main protagonist this time around is Addie who lives with her Grandmother on their struggling farmstead. So, the cast is OK, the premise for the movie is a nice departure from the norm, and with so much potential gory goodness to be found in the Creeper’s past bloodbaths, could part three provide a fun romp for the series.

Unfortunately, the simple answer to that is no. Despite the Creeper again being a worthwhile villain, the rest of the movie is a low point in the franchise. Plot-wise it’s fine but the characterization is lacking any real substance, with Addie moping around and her Grandmother shouting at ghosts that only she can see. We’re also introduced to a kick-ass, seemingly hard as fuck paramilitary task force made up of Creeper survivors, led by Stan Shaw. They all wear matching hats and a shoulder patch, with a cute image of a skull and the creature’s wing. To be fair, a kindergarten class could have come up with a logo more bad-ass than these tough lads did. Their massive truck-mounted chain gun is also ludicrous, but comically awesome.

The movie also attempts to expand the creature’s mythology by making some ‘interesting’ alterations to his rusty ride, bringing it to life with the ability to drive itself and fire off explosives. I know we’re supposed to suspend our disbelief while watching a movie about a lazy arsed creature who can’t be bothered to get his hunt on for over twenty years, but giving him the ability to somehow enchant his vehicle is taking matters a touch too far, surely. Or is it? Let us know in the comments if you think the movie stretches all credibility to its limits or if we should just crack on with the more unbelievable elements. Plots threads are also left unanswered, with much made of an artifact found on Addie’s farm, only for the tantalizing promise of it perhaps having an effect on the Creeper never being fully explained. It’s a shame that we also never get a rousing climax, or a final battle with the Creeper, which I guess was the idea, to set up the events for the second movie. But, it’s very anticlimactic for no good reason.

Jeepers Creepers 3 had a limited two day release in theaters; once on September 26th, 2017 and also an encore event where it was screened again on October 4th. The movie grossed $2.3 million dollars in the US and $1.7 million dollars in other territories; making a worldwide total of $4 million dollars. It was the third biggest movie at the box-office on September 26th, behind Kingsman: The Golden Circle and It. The film was also released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 26th, 2017.

While this limited release was in contrast to the admittedly superior first two parts, what was the critical reaction? Dread Central, who’s reviews are generally fair and well balanced gave the movie a generous three and a half stars out of five, saying, “at the end of the day if you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll be happy with this latest entry… which for my tastes is better than the second but just falls short of the goodness and quality of the original experience”. Less favorable were IGN who said the movie was, “an unremarkable entry in a cult favorite franchise, Jeepers Creepers 3 offers fans too little to get excited about. While the monster still rules its slice of country highway and the skies above it, the rest of the film crashes in the cornfields”.

So, my wonderfully twisted fellow gore-hounds, what we have here is a threequel that doesn’t live up to the promise of the first two movies, but at least tries something fresh with the franchise. It may have been the last movie in the series that Victor Salva had any involvement with, despite having a treatment in place for part four, but that hasn’t stopped a reboot from emerging in 2022, called Jeepers Creepers: Reborn. There’s an entirely new production on board for what they consider to be a “restart” for the franchise. So, stay tuned to our channel to see if the reboot is a strong new beginning for the Creeper, or if he should have stayed in his lazy slumber for a little longer. More importantly though, what’s YOUR take on part three? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you wonderful gore-hounds next time. Thanks for watching!

A couple of the previous episodes of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? can be seen below. To see more, head over to our JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

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