Now Jeepers Creepers has always been a roller-coaster of a franchise anyway. The original film was an absolute classic and introduced the horror audience to a brand-new breed of monster – The Creeper, which some say needs to be mentioned alongside the horror greats like Jason, Freddy and Michael Meyers. Even the second film was a classic, but then the third film in the franchise was absolutely terrible.
Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, directed by Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky), was supposed to re-invent this franchise and bring The Creeper into modern times. Instead, this is going to be one of those films that fans of the franchise are going to really loathe and, let’s be honest, it is also one of the worst films of the year.
The film is set 23 years after the first three years of the original plot, well and truly bringing it into modern times. Horror buff and conspiracy theorist Chase (Imran Adams – Wedding Season) excitedly takes his girlfriend, Laine (Sydney Craven – Slotherhouse), to a horror convention in the middle of nowhere. Something that she is not only not looking forward to but is also adding to the stress that she has been experiencing since she found out she is pregnant.
The trip takes a turn for the worse for Laine when while at the convention she and Chase win a completion that will see them spend the night in an escape room challenge for an online television show – even worse is the fact that the show’s presenter, Carrie (Ocean Navarro – Christmas Spirit), seems to be flirting with Chase from the moment they first meet.
The issue soon pales into insignificance though when they arrive at the escape room challenge but soon discover that the old mansion is in fact the lair of the recently ‘risen’ The Creeper (Jarreu Benjamin – Red Devil) and he is hungry for human flesh.
Plot aside, there is very little that actually works in the favour of Jeepers Creepers: Reborn. With the creator of the franchise nowhere near this film, this feels like a film out to make a buck but with no soul. The indie horror feel that made the first two films work so well are completely gone and this feels like a film that has tried to be made as quickly as possible.
There are times throughout this film when you can tell everything on the screen in fake. The filmmaker couldn’t even be bothered finding an old mansion or a graveyard to film in – instead it is all filmed on a sound stage with some of the fakest trees and night sky that you are ever likely to see on screen. At one moment two characters walk out of a store and it is even obvious that the ‘road’ outside has been green-screened. The first two films in this franchise took the audience and made them feel that they were right there with the characters facing off with The Creeper. The fakeness of the set here means the audience is so removed from what is playing out in front of them that the film nearly has zero suspense.
Then there is also a patch during this film where the acting becomes so bad that it feels like you are watching a bad porn parody of the Jeepers Creepers franchise. It comes as a bit of a shock because for the most part Imran Adams and Sydney Craven are the best parts of this film, but when it comes to the middle act of the film it suddenly feels like even the actors have given up on the film and the acting is awful.
The most disappointing thing about Jeepers Creepers Reborn though has to be the fact that underneath all the fakeness is a plot that could have resulted in a pretty decent film. Instead the filmmakers decided to try and make this as cheaply as possible and the end result is a film that is okay to go along and laugh at (it is almost at that ‘it is so bad it’s good’ stage) but will do very little to impress any of the horror fans out there.
Jeepers Creepers: Reborn opens in Phuket cinemas on Nov 24 and has been rated ‘18’.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus