With "Jeepers Creepers 2," Victor Salva establishes himself as a real master of the modern horror film. "JC2" is better than the original and, at the time of this writing, the best film of 2003.
It's impossible not to review a Salva film without also discussing the director's past. As many of you already know, Salva served time for molesting a boy. What's remarkable about both the "Jeepers Creepers" films is how much the movies capture the fear that some boys and young men have of gay predators. The Creeper is clearly gay. Openly, in fact. Way out of the closet.
In the first film, the Creeper – a monster that kills mostly young men, and steals various body parts – focuses his interest on a teenager played by Justin Long, who had the misfortune of having his underpants sniffed out by the creature. In this film, the Creeper is given an entire busload of champion basketball players to traumatize. Like the traditional slasher movie females shown sunbathing or showering before the inevitable kill, these boys urinate together, walk around shirtless and make gay comments to one another. They're horrified when the Creeper identifies them as worthy targets of his own affections.
The Creeper's first victim in Part 2 is a young boy erecting scarecrows in a cornfield. The boy's farmer father (played by "Twin Peaks" veteran Ray Wise) sets out for revenge. Meanwhile, the basketball team's bus is trapped in the middle of an abandoned highway, with the Creeper outside.
A few token female characters exist, although none of them catch much interest from the Creeper. One of them (Nicki Lynn Aycox) has a psychic link to the Creeper's main love interest in the first film (Long), and in a series of dreams learns a little about the monster's history: It comes out for 23 days every 23 years to feed on human beings.
With an ending that's infinitely more satisfying than the last movie's and better special effects, Part 2 seems like a better package, although the character development isn't exactly there. All in all, though, this is an impressive second entry, and proof perfect that Salva may become a legendary horror film director.