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Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

He can taste your fear

Directed by:

Victor Salva

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

'Jeepers Creepers' introduced viewers to the vampiric 'Creeper' who roams the earth for 23 days every 23rd spring, collecting human body parts from which he regenerates himself and forges an assortment of weapons. In the sequel, set in the final two days of the current feeding frenzy, the Creeper (Jonathan Breck) uses his new bat-like wings to swoop upon a bus full of varsity basketball players, coaches and cheerleaders, and just about the only thing standing in his way is vengeful father Jack Taggart (Ray Wise) armed with a home-made harpoon mounted on his truck and an implacable desire to kill that matches the Creeper's own.

The best thing about the original 'Jeepers Creepers' was the way in which it took its time to unveil the nature of its beast – but once the Creeper had eventually been revealed in all his inhuman indestructibility, the film lost much of its suspense and quickly descended into the more hackneyed territory of run-for-your-life horror. This, unfortunately, is the whole problem with 'Jeepers Creepers 2': although there are lengthy expositional sequences in which cheerleader Minxie Hayes (Nicki Lynn Aycox) is visited in her dreams by the dead hero of the first film (Justin Long) and told about the Creeper, for anyone who has seen the original film this is all old news. In fact none of the shocks in store for the film's characters come as much of a surprise for the viewer, who is left merely to observe the spectacle of annoying adolescents being killed off one by one – a formula which will always be entertaining enough, but represents a market already crowded by the 'Friday the 13th' or 'Halloween' franchises.

There is some drama to be found in the teenagers' prejudices against one another's skin colour and sexual preference, and irony in the hungry killer's lack of such discrimination in picking out his victims, and humour in director Salva's crazy reimagination of 'Jaws' as a piece of airborne cornfield gothic – but in the final analysis, what really gives a horror film its wings is a whole lot of scares, and there simply are not enough of them here to let 'Jeepers Creepers 2' soar above the competition.

It's Got: Creepy scarecrows, death from above, and some moody shots of cornfields

It Needs: To be scarier.

Alternatives:

Jaws, Jeepers Creepers

Summary

The Creeper eats schoolkids from a bus like so many beans from a can, and the result is a film that has some tasty moments, but leaves a bad smell in the end.

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