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Jeepers Creepers 2


gen-x-review-jeepers-creepers-2I’m often asked in my world travels how one analyzes a film. Does one choose to deconstruct or psychoanalyze? How does one know whether to use Lacan, Derrida, or Foucault?


As a public service announcement I decided to explain my thought process while writing the review of the new film Jeepers Creepers 2.


After sitting through a film like Jeepers Creepers 2 the first impulse most people will have is to watch reruns of Hollywood Squares, say, to cleanse your pallet of the taste of the film. After all, you have just wasted almost two hours in the movie theatre, and the last thing you will want is to dive into a rehash of the mess.

 

This is to be avoided. The suggested method of analysis is to torture your significant other on the way home from the theatre with ridiculous details about the film, using words like phallocentric as much as possible. If your SO isn’t present, or even more likely you have no one to blubber to, you should mutter keen observations to yourself. The goal is to keep the horror fresh in your mind.


Prepare your writing space at home, turn on some light classical music, and dig into the review by typing over your notes, where you have stored your thoughtful observations while watching the film. There you will find all sorts of helpful statements such as: “pretty bad acting” and “the characters are so dull.”


Do not yet panic. Leaf through the spiral bound pad until you come to your first witty remark, which might talk about the plot. Jeepers Creepers 2, for example, is about a demon that has somehow been allowed to eat humans every 23rd spring for 23 days.


And that’s it. We’ll assume this character’s background was fleshed out in Jeepers Creepers, which I unfortunately didn’t see. In most horror film franchises the only character that returns in the sequel is the monster himself or, in rare occasions, the survivor from the original film, who promptly gets skinned, so we should be able to work around this handicap.


The film opens in a cornfield somewhere in Middle America. (I see in my notes that I thought a clever opening line might substitute certain words in the “The Catcher in the Rye” to say “The Cutter in the Corn.”) A young farm kid is doing his chores when he notices that one of the scarecrows is… ALIVE!


So he’s killed.


The plot congeals when we’re introduced to a high school varsity football team returning from losing the championship game. The school bus they’re riding in suddenly has a flat tire and they’re stuck on an empty expanse of road. When the coaches investigate the problem they find a ninja throwing star-like weapon lodged into the tire.


As the adults set flairs and try the radio, the kids wander off. They spontaneously remove their shirts and the camera seems to spend an inordinate amount of time roaming over their chests. A group lines up in order to urinate together and others sun tan on the roof of the bus. Although there are several busty cheerleaders, the film is primarily directed at these young men.


How odd. You must carefully consider if it’s worth pointing out the homoerotic gaze here, knowing in secret that half your audience will begin to question your own sexuality if you even use the word homosexual in a sentence.


The adults are picked off fairly quickly as dusk falls, leaving the football team to decide on what course of action they should take. After spending so much time displaying male bodies and virility, the film them begins ripping the kids to pieces. The creature seems to have picked out certain people for certain parts, and absorbs them into itself when he eats them.


(It’s important to start laying it on here…)'


The bus becomes a pressure cooker, bringing latent homophobic and racist ideologies out in the open. What becomes increasingly apparent is that there are no leaders in this mob of good-looking, healthy Americans. Without adult supervision they revert to childish behavior, attack one another, or cower in stupid fear.


A good reviewer will notice how this creature appears elemental, without any real motivation, a force of nature. In an odd way the movie resembles a disaster film. Confined to the bus, the team falls apart, showing that their bonds were wholly superficial. They may play together, but they don’t have the tools necessary to work as an organization. This crew fails both as a collection of individuals and a team.


They are mere raw material. The creature wants to eat and use their parts just as their coaches have controlled their individual actions in the service of the game, but there is no leader among them. There is a dragon out there, beyond the school bus, and the hero needs to rise out of the mob and slay it. We have already seen their brute strength and fledgling masculine power, but they lack the courage to save themselves.


When a leader does appear it is a counterfeit leader, scapegoating members of the team and dividing the team when it needs to be unified.


The film highlights an anxiety over the meaning of the mob. When is a team merely a machine, controlled by demonic powers, and when does it help produce our culture’s heroes? The monster’s real mission is to either assimilate the boys, force them to act in concert or reveal a champion from their ranks. In their present form they serve no one less than themselves.


It’s always a good rule to end a review with a line that extends your review slightly beyond your reach, something to suggest that you’d really like to go on a few more pages about this interesting film. This is, after all, important stuff here, and if you can prove that Jeepers Creepers 2 is of great consequence, well, maybe you can convince yourself that the 103 minutes wasn’t an entire waste.


I would suggest: The creature outside is not nearly as horrifying as the terror inside.

 

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