(Originally posted on 2/10/04)
Jeepers Creepers 2 fares relatively well as a follow-up to its 2001 predecessor, itself little more than an over-hyped monster movie blessed with some seductively shadowy cinematography. Director Victor Salva’s widescreen compositions and digitally enhanced color palette are eerily beautiful, especially with regards to the film’s abundant golden cornfields, which are ominously radiant by day, menacingly opaque by night. Unfortunately, the director’s obvious framing -- such as when, immediately before his demise, a man lighting road flares is too conspicuously seen in the background of a conversation -- diffuses many of the film’s mild frights. The real disaster, however, is the ludicrously overblown creature. With 747-size wings, slimy horned skin, and a flapping third nostril that smells humans’ fear, the nameless monster is akin to an unintentionally funny hybrid of Batman and a blowfish. As with too many modern studio horror films, Jeepers Creepers 2 becomes so infatuated with its deadly killer that it repeatedly loses focus on the terror he inspires in his victims -- in this case, a group of teens trapped on their broken-down school bus in the middle of rural nowhere. The film never overcomes its gore-first, suspense-later construction, although Salva does admirably attempt to subvert familiar horror movie conventions by painting the all-American WASP as a racist and a homophobe, while allowing the usual victims (the African-American, the homosexual, the blond cheerleader) to triumph in the end. Ultimately, however, the obviousness of this modus operandi is merely another example of the film’s insidious predictability.