Don't Fear the Creeper

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Creeper is back. Actually he, or it, never really went away. Introduced in Victor Salva's 2001 sleeper hit "Jeepers Creepers," the functional but tiresome sequel's Creeper -- a cross between Freddy Krueger, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a pterodactyl who rises out of a pit in the ground every 23 years for a total of 23 days to feed, by the looks of things, mainly on aspiring teenage underwear models -- is just now finishing up the meal he began in the earlier film. Now he's ready for dessert, which in this case is a busload of cornfed high school football players and cheerleaders whose transportation back from the big game has become suspiciously disabled by an ugly-looking throwing star made of razor-sharp talons held together with human skin.

Meant to evoke Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" in its sense of confinement and focus on the dramatic bickering of its canful of human anchovies, the film's real antecedent is "Moby Dick." True, "Jeepers Creepers 2" spends the first half on and around the bus as first one then another of the no-name stars (Travis Schiffner? Eric Nenninger?) get decapitated or otherwise killed, but its second half is devoted to a showdown between the Creeper and Ray Wise. Filling the Captain Ahab role as a farmer who has lost his son to the Creeper, Wise tracks the monster hither and yon with an air-powered harpoon mounted to the back of his pickup truck.

Fans of the Herman Melville book or the film starring Gregory Peck may get a small kick out of the allusions to the whale story, but the protracted back-and-forth eventually seems to merely delay what is, in the end, a foregone conclusion.

JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 (R, 104 minutes) -- Contains obscenity and gore. Area theaters.

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