What can be better than binging a horror trilogy on a lazy day off?
I was delighted to do so recently with the horror B-movie franchise, Jeepers Creepers.
I remember watching the first one when it came out with some people who did not think it was as much fun as I did. If I were a non-horror fan, I would probably agree.
Jeepers Creepers follows a supernatural entity as it runs its reign of terror through what appear to be midwestern farming communities. Every 23 years, the creature (dubbed “the Creeper” after the first movie) goes on a spree, killing people for 23 days and consuming the parts it needs. The three movies take place during different times of its so-called culling.
So, how does each installment fare? Here is my ranking of the franchise…guaranteed it will surprise you.
#1: Jeepers Creepers 3
Okay, I know that people are thinking, “WHAT?!” It is a rare sequel or remake that I enjoy better than the original. Given my feelings on Jeepers Creepers 2 that you will be reading shortly, no one was more surprised than me that I was highly entertained by this installment. It’s going to sound silly, but one of the things that I thought was great about it was that all of the action takes place in broad daylight. Think about it. It is nearing the end of its chance to complete its culling, and in its desperation to finish the job, it doesn’t give a crap if anyone sees it. A demonic creature just going full blown kill-over-stealth mode is more interesting to me. It provides a setting in which none of the characters are ever safe. This one also made good use of crazy traps in the BEATNGU truck, which we haven’t seen much of in the first two other than its ominous honk. Plus, the ending sets this up for what could be a really great fourth installment set during the next hunt that could be used to give us more of an origin story and an explanation as to what the Creeper truly is. Was this the greatest film in the history of horror? No. Was it a great B-movie to pass an afternoon? Absolutely!
#2: Jeepers Creepers
The one that started it all. A lot of people criticize its cheese factor, but I think that the Creeper is a genuinely interesting, original villain. He is super dark, and when Darry finds himself at the bottom of that pipe, I thought that the effects as well as Darry’s subsequent traumatized reaction are very believable. Not all of the scary moments are rubbed right in your face. There are some great moments of suspense, and a visually creepy kill scene that happens in the periphery out of the protagonists. What makes the Creeper so…well, creepy is the fact that it is relentless, and performs its kills with a sense of eery calm. We get to see a lot of the Creeper as it hunts, and new parts of it (so to speak) are revealed at every turn.
#3: Jeepers Creepers 2
I’m not going to sugarcoat this. This sequel just didn’t do it for me. Timeline wise, this one takes place on the last day of the Creeper’s culling. It targets a damaged school bus full of high schoolers heading to the big game. What could have made a very entertaining “bottle” horror film fell awfully flat for me. What makes it so boring is the fact that the Creeper wastes so much time toying with the kids on this bus. It’s the last day of his reaping, and he’s wasting time taunting them when the audience knows full well that they aren’t safe on that bus….we’ve seen him rip a roof off of a car, but a school bus is pretty much impenetrable? On top of that, one of them has random psychic visions of Darry from the first movie, who she doesn’t know, who conveniently tells her the Creeper’s backstory, which has no bearing at all on the outcome of the movie. Plus, I didn’t really care about the characters. I couldn’t even remember any of their names by the end of the movie. Horror is a breed unto itself, I know, but caring about what happens to the characters is a big part of what makes a horror movie scary and this is an absolute dealbreaker for me.