Jeepers Creepers: Reborn Review

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

PLOT: The Creeper returns to terrorize Horror Hound attendees who win the chance to enter a Creeper-themed escape room in a supposedly haunted house.

REVIEW: While I have always thought that The Creeper was a great monster that had the potential to be a new genre icon, the Jeepers Creepers franchise is a difficult one to support and defend for a variety of reasons. The biggest problem, of course, is the fact that it was created by Victor Salva, who was convicted of molesting the young star of his 1989 film Clownhouse. The first Jeepers Creepers (which got its name from an old song) is a 2001 horror film about a brother and sister – Trish Jenner (Gina Philips) and her brother Darry (Justin Long) – who are driving home from college on spring break when they see a mysterious figure dumping a body down a pipe next to an abandoned church. Many viewers who saw the movie in 2001 weren’t aware of Salva’s crime – but now that there’s greater awareness of what he did, some understandably choose not to watch his movies at all. It does tarnish the movies to know who made them. And while the first Jeepers Creepers was a good creature feature, it turns out that the best sequence in the film – when the characters first encounter The Creeper on the road and see him dumping the body – was lifted directly out of an old episode of Unsolved Mysteries. So it’s not the accomplishment it appeared to be anyway, but it did well enough at the box office that it was followed by two sequels that ranged from being disappointing to downright bad. But still, The Creeper has potential. So it was good to hear that the franchise was being rebooted with a “reimagining” from director Timo Vuorensola. Now we have Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, which doesn’t have Salva’s name on it anywhere.

Unfortunately, it’s just another bad movie with The Creeper in it.

Scripted by Jake Seal and Sean-Michael Argo, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn starts out with a recreation of the original film’s opening sequence. The encounter with The Creeper on the road. The sight of him dumping a body down a pipe. The difference is, this time the characters that have crossed paths with The Creeper aren’t college-age siblings but instead an elderly couple, played by Dee Wallace and Gary Graham. Which brings the scenario even closer to the true events that were dramatized in that episode of Unsolved Mysteries. This recreation of a recreation isn’t nearly as effective as the sequence in the first Jeepers Creepers was – so thankfully it turns out to be a dramatization itself. It’s a clip from a show called Macabre Mysteries, a nice nod to that Unsolved Mysteries origin.

Jeepers Creepers: Reborn takes place in a world where The Creeper is a well-known legend. It’s said that this creature appears in a certain part of Louisiana every twenty-three years, where it proceeds to wreak havoc and kill people for a period of twenty-three days. Devouring human body parts to replace its own. For example: if The Creeper loses a hand, it can grow a new hand by eating the hand of a victim. After twenty-three days of mayhem, it goes dormant for another twenty-three years. The three Jeepers Creepers movies are just movies based on the legend, the events in them were all fake. Now we’re seeing a real Creeper incident… and it is incredibly underwhelming.

The lead characters are Creeper superfan Chase (Imran Adams) and his girlfriend Laine (Sydney Craven), who are introduced while on their way to a Horror Hound event. Horror Hound is a real convention that agreed to be associated with this movie, but the way it’s depicted on screen is far from how these shows really are. In Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Horror Hound is an outdoor festival, complete with carnival games, haunted house attractions, firebreathers, and sword swallowers. There’s a special giveaway: the chance to enter a Creeper-themed escape room that has been set up in a supposedly haunted nearby mansion. But when Chase and Laine win this giveaway, it’s clearly rigged. They have come in contact with too many shady people for it not to be. It seems The Creeper is surrounded by a cult in this one, much like Michael Myers in Halloween 6. And apparently Laine has caught their attention because she’s pregnant. Like Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, The Creeper needs some help from a “tree bearing fruit”.

Given that this movie is supposed to be a revival of the Jeepers Creepers franchise, it’s not a good thing that it brings to mind some of the least popular entries of other horror franchises. It also doesn’t work very well as a reintroduction of The Creeper himself. There is nothing impressive about our first looks at him – and once we see him in action, it’s even worse. Now played by Jarreau Benjamin under re-designed makeup, wearing clothes stolen from a scarecrow, The Creeper in this movie often comes off like cosplay, but not good cosplay like we see on some of the fans at the Horror Hound festival. Clunky cosplay that doesn’t come close to the level of what we saw in the other movies.

Jonathan Breck played The Creeper in the previous films, but he was replaced as part of the reboot effort. Tom Tarantini, who played Roach in Jeepers Creepers and Coach Dwayne Barnes in Jeepers Creepers 2, already missed out on the third movie, and he was left out of this one as well. Of course, we do still get to hear the song “Jeepers Creepers”.

The film’s second rate Creeper is dropped into a movie with mediocre characters who bounce awkward, poorly written dialogue off each other… and it doesn’t get even interesting until more than halfway through its 88 minute running time. The set-up of The Creeper stalking and attacking people inside a crumbling mansion is kind of fun, but it doesn’t make up for how cringe-inducing the first half of the movie is. I thought The Creeper could be a horror icon, but apparently it’s too difficult to make a good Jeepers Creepers movie for that to happen. Given who he was created by, maybe that’s for the best.

Vuorensola insists that Salva doesn’t profit from Jeepers Creepers: Reborn in any way, especially since the elements he introduced in the first Jeepers Creepers have been reimagined and re-designed for this one. However, some are concerned that Salva did make money off of the money, that he must have been paid off for the rights at some point. I can’t say for sure either way, I don’t know the financial details. I will say that if you decide to skip Jeepers Creepers: Reborn to be certain you’re not supporting Salva in any way, you’re not missing much. Jeepers Creepers: Reborn is thoroughly skippable.

Jeepers Creepers: Reborn is reaching select theatres nationwide on September 30th. A VOD release will follow on October 4th.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.