The third instalment in a film series usually tends to have some resemblance to, or even a remembrance, of its predecessors. Or so you’d think. Roughly 30 minutes into Victor Salva’s Jeepers Creepers 3, all semblance of what made the original film interesting (and unique) is wiped away and replaced by everything that you don’t want in a monster movie: a villain turned goofy (both stylistically and aesthetically), too many scenes that take place during daytime, too much character exposition (in which all of it is superfluous), and a very, very silly and goofy final 30 minutes.
Oh, and there’s no point to the film, whatsoever, as a whole.
Jeepers Creepers 3 takes place in a small Louisiana town, in which all of its inhabitants are familiar with the tall tales and legends of the Creeper; a winged, possibly centuries old creature that hunts humans, skins them, eats them, and can even smell our fear. And apparently, it does so every 23 years. In the original film, it takes a long time before what the Creeper looks like is revealed to the audience, and when it’s revealed, it’s done under minimal lighting (to ramp up the creep factor, and for budgetary reasons). Even the fact that it can fly is a third act revelation. A couple of years later, a sequel was made, and for the life of me I can’t recall even a single event that had transpired in it. But I remember watching it in the theatres and I remember hating it. Now comes Jeepers Creepers 3…
…and it’s also very, very bad. For starters, every cop in town wants to hunt the creature down; there’s an old woman whose son had encountered the Creeper 23 years ago, found and buried its severed hand (I’m still not sure how that happened), died at the hands of the Creeper, and now haunts his elderly mother and periodically warns her about the Creeper’s imminent arrival and its intent; that elderly mother’s granddaughter who dislikes a local bad-boy (who really doesn’t have a reason to be in the film), and a local farm boy who feels bad for the girl and her situation… how they all fit together is immaterial because it’s all misdirection. It’s misdirection that leads to nothing.
There’s also the discovery that if the Creeper’s severed hand is touched, the person touching it is magically lifted into the air, put into a trance, and is shown the Creeper’s entire backstory and origin. Not one but two of the film’s major characters go through this ritual, and not once is any of this is shared with the audience. These characters make a point of staring at the camera, claiming that they now know everything about the Creeper, and not sharing any of that useless information with the audience.
And when I write “useless”, I seriously mean useless. Id’ love to spoil the last 5 minutes of the film, how utterly goofy and silly they are, and how they feel like 2 or 3 different directors had worked on this project, and all at the same time… but alas, I can’t. As much as I’d love to, the Code of the Critic forbids me from doing so, unfortunately.
Honestly, I was somewhat looking forward to this film. It’s been 14 years coming, and knowing that it was still made after 14 years and released straight to VOD (Video On Demand) should have been an ample warning. And here’s the good news: most of the film is, honestly, shot and lit very, very well. Victor Silva is no slouch. He does the bets that he can with such tiny budgetary constraints and a gross lack of resources (and mostly Gods awful CG), but he has a very good eye for shot compositions, camera movements and fluidity, and lighting. The rest is utter trash. There’s no actually story in the film, not even a plot; most of the character are overwritten without being important, and they usually deliver clumsy and superfluous exposition; the dialogue is atrocious and entirely unrealistic; and, as aforementioned, the CG is Gods awful.
So, it’s well shot and lit and some of the performances are needlessly decent, but what makes up the rest of the film is horrendous. It’s not a complete waste of time, seeing that anyone can watch it in the comfort of their own home, and probably for cheap (or even free), but it’s not even close to being a decent film. I’d say… skip it. Yup. Even if it’s on Netflix, skip it. Just rewatch the original film from 2001 and ignore this one. You’ll dig the original film. It’s short, unique, thoroughly creepy, and gets straight to the point.
Victor Silva… no more Creeper films. Please. You’ve ruined it, twice.