Review - 'Jeepers Creepers 3'
I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened, but Jeepers Creepers 3 had a long and difficult road set before it for the past fifteen years. From Victor Salva’s criminal past to MGM filing for bankruptcy, Jeepers Creepers 3 went through many changes during its development hell. Sadly, like every other sequel that’s been shelved for over ten years until it finally sees the light of day, it turned out to be awful. I just didn’t expect how awful.
Not so cleverly setting itself between the first and second film, Jeepers Creepers 3 introduces many new characters and plot lines, none of which it knows how to dedicate more than a few minutes to, constantly bouncing from one exposition yelling character to the next. Following the events of the first film after the Creeper makes off with Justin Long’s character, Darry, the police acquire the Creeper’s truck outside the police station, which is booby-trapped like the Batmobile. After an entertaining twenty minutes of some fun horror, the Creeper reacquires his hell on wheels and sets off to the next county and the next hour of this movie that I wish never happened.
Now here’s where it goes downhill. We’re introduced to Gaylen, played by Meg Foster, whose son was killed years ago by the Creeper but not before burying a piece of the Creeper beneath the property. Gaylen can communicate with her son extensively like he’s a Force Ghost, though the second film portrayed any supernatural interactions as annoyingly cryptic (“Every 23 years, on the 23rd day It gets to feed, yada-yada-yada”). Gaylen’s granddaughter, Addison, thinks she’s lost her rocker. With the farm failing and Gaylen struggling to make income, Addison’s afraid she’ll lose her horse, which she can’t afford to even feed. Thankfully, the local feed store boy, who constantly looks like he's on the verge of crying, has a crush on Addison and in the most stalker-like way provides her with the feed. Meanwhile, an Anti-Creeper squad led by Stan Shaw as Dan Tashtego is fiddling around, doing jack all. At some point all of these characters converge but it’s neither entertaining nor satisfying as there’s a bunch of setup to the characters learning the Creeper’s origin with no payoff. And to dovetail right into the beginning of Jeepers Creepers 2 at the very end of the film felt like a bad hangover to an exceptionally bad night of drinking.
Jeepers Creepers 3 is a Frankenstein monster in quality. Some of the special effects look surprisingly good for a low budget film but then there are Birdemic-level moments. I constantly went from “Why wasn’t this in theaters?” to “Ooooohhhh, that looked like shit. Nevermind.” The Creeper looks really good during the night sequences but there’s a major shift in this third film to transpire during the day, where the latex seams of the Creeper’s face are more apparent, making it look more like a Party City halloween costume than something costume designers spent hours on. The camera also lingers on these digital shadows of the Creeper like the movie wants you to revel in its SyFy channel quality.
Luckily, the charm and dark humor of the Creeper is still intact. There’s a great scene where he’s carrying a body and he’s just nonchalantly whistling while one of the victims he kept alive is cowering in the corner. Another great moment is when the Creeper leaps at Stan Shaw’s character but the camera sits on a wide shot above the grass where the two disappear until you see the Creeper get up, turn and walk away, only to lift up his arm behind him and his axe, now plunged deep into Stan Shaw’s face, pulls Shaw’s body up with it until the axe flies back into the Creeper’s hand. It’s a cool moment undercut by the rest of the scene.
Absolutely none of the characters are likable. It’s like the movie was trying to have a contest to see which character you’d hate the most, which maybe was its goal because a lot of the characters do meet a grisly fate but even the main characters who do survive are insufferable. The two teenage leads, Gabrielle Haugh and Chester Rushing, have some of the worst chemistry. There were prolonged scenes that were supposed to be romantic but made me cringe.
Final thoughts: I love the first two Jeepers Creepers films and I forgive their B-movie dialogue in but take this line spoken by a character in Jeepers Creepers 3, for example, and consider writer/director Victor Salva’s criminal past: “Can you blame him though? I mean look at her, the heart wants what it wants, am I right?”
Do yourself a favor and just stay away from Jeepers Creepers 3.