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Jeepers Creepers 2

Starring Ray Wise and Jonathan Breck as the Creeper
Based on characters created by Victor Salva
Written and Directed by Victor Salva

IN SHORT: Better (by us) than JC1. [Rated R. 106 minutes]

We are three years past Jeepers Creepers, the original movie which establishes that a maniacal killer is set loose once every 23 years, for 23 days, "to feed" on puny humans. We were ready to write, "Yo, dude, check a calendar. Your 're not due for two decades" among other pithy disses ruminating at the back of our brain.

We don't even remember watching Jeepers Creepers and, rereading the review, note that we enjoyed most of its non slice 'n' dice offering, but felt it took a nose dive with a blatant set up the sequel ending.We planted for our screening of Jeepers Creepers 2 dreading the coming 106 minutes of a sequel we thought had no reason to exist. Jeepers Creepers 2 is a sequel far superior to its source material. It honors the thriller genre while not stepping down to the flat out shock and gore of slice 'n' dice flicks. This time out, the story is complete and not a cheesy set up for a prayed for sequel. That makes us a happy Cranky. We walked out entertained. What more could we want?

Let's be honest about this for a 'graph. What do we expect from a movie like this? We expect a whole lot of nameless young kidlets to run for their lives while a maniacal killer hunts them down and rips their heads off. We don't care much abut the who or what of their lives. We don't need to know a helluva lot about why the maniac must kill -- (he) must kill, of course. If there was a choice in the matter you'd need to create a viable and believable story and that wastes important screen time that could be devoted to kidlets running from a maniacal killer.

There is a generation or two of viewers who expect to see hardcore wounding and body penetration and gushing blood in their scary movies. We call those flicks slice 'n' dice and anyone who has ever seen one knows exactly what we're talking about. Then there are the movies which try to scare the crap out of you without an excess of gore (and, of course when you combine the two you get Freddy vs. Jason, which was the big surprise of our summer). Jeepers Creepers 2 falls into the scare without excess gore category. There's just one gruesome kill and blood does not spurt. Those who wish for that will be disappointed.

Jeepers Creepers 2 features a dozen or so high school kids; members of the varsity basketball squad and some cheerleaders who are returning triumphant from the State Finals. The star of the team is pissed because he only got 12 minutes of playing time and he thinks its a racial thing. His cheerleader girlfriend sits across the bus, since the boy is inconsolable when he's in a sullen mood. A tire on the school bus explodes. The driver discovers that it's been taken out by what looks like a japanese ninja throwing star -- one made out of sharpened human bone. The bus tries to make it to the next town, but it's on a lonely highway that gets almost no traffic. By the book. One more attack and The Creeper (Jonathan Breck) takes out the adult supervision. After that, teenagers in hell. Instead of "get out of the house" the theme here is "don't get off the bus." But, of course, they will.

On the other side of the corn field which serves as the killing ground to come lives Jack Taggart (Ray Wise) and sons Billy and Jackie (as in junior). Early in the movie, The Creeper visits that homestead and leaves the good ol' farmer red in the eyes. It doesn't take much to figure out that Taggart has been touched by The Creeper once before. It's not in the script and it probably could have been an interesting subplot but writer/director Victor Salva is not all that concerned with things like story structure and background (you figure out the High School name. It begins with the letter "B"). Like all films that fall into the thriller category now, he gets down to business.

Getting lazy with story construction is the kind of thing we'd rip a new one about, except that we had a pretty good time watching the maniac with regenerating body parts and deadly bone spurs growing out of skin pores get nasty on screening kidlets. A year from now, if we even remember anything about Jeepers Creepers 2, we may look back at this page and think "what the hell was I thinking???" But all we wanted was some entertainment without getting sick to our stomach. We got that good.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Jeepers Creepers 2, he would have


Buy popcorn. Shut off the higher brain functions. Enjoy.

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