JEEPERS CREEPERS: REBORN
“Death gives it life.”
Director: Timo Vuorensola / Writers: Jake Seal & Sean-Michael Argo / Cast: Sydney Craven, Imran Adams, Peter Brooke, Jarreau Benjamin, Ocean Navarro, Matt Barkley, Dee Wallace, Gary Graham.
Body Count: 5
Laughter Lines: “How do you like those peepers, bitch?”
There’s a story to be told with this character – yet nobody seems to want to tell it.
A million miles along an empty road from the theatrical releases of the original and its first sequel in 2001 and 03, arguably Victor Salva’s plot to prevent his idea being turned into a series of diminishing returns by factoring in a 23-year gap between sprees hugely backfired – as the series has become just that.
After the infuriatingly pointless third entry ended with a flicker of hope it would garner enough interest for the next film to bring back Gina Philips as Trish, the rights to the franchise seem to have been pried from Salva’s grip (likely in light of his dodgy past), its budget slashed to ribbons, and consigned to circle the drain without a required shot of investment to be able to give fans of the originals what they want – answers.
Reborn begins much like the first film, with an old couple (Wallace and Graham) idling along a backroad who are briefly tormented by a creepy truck (albeit a different one) with the BeatingU plate, and soon after see the occupant tossing what looks to be a body wrapped in a sheet down a pipe. He gives chase, they evade and go back to the pipe… This then zooms out to be a dramatisation online, watched by Creeper-believer Chase, who, with his girlfriend Laine, is driving into Jackson, Louisiana, for a horror festival themed around the local legend. Curiously, the voiceover says the couple were never seen again – so how did the story of what happened to them even get out?
When they stop off at a curiosity outlet, the psychic woman who runs it senses Laine is newly pregnant and conspires to have the pair ‘win’ an escape room experience at an old plantation house where cloaked goths worship the Creeper. He, meanwhile, crawls from hibernation status and begins collecting new body parts from various schmucks who wander into the woods until he’s strong enough to hunt the group who get locked in the house with him.
The real villain here is budget, in that there clearly isn’t one with enough funds to show us the Creeper fly, or do much beyond walk around the set (the film was largely shot on soundstages in the UK) stalking victims like any other slasher maniac. The van is wheeled out for a couple of scenes, but barely registers come the end, by which point the overdose of kids-TV-show quality green screen has all but consumed any goodwill the film might’ve built up early on.
Salva’s past crimes – which notably pre-date even the first film – may have been his undoing, but at least the guy had a vision. In this wasteful state, it’s probably best to abort the series entirely.
Blurbs-of-interest: Peter Brooke was in Wrong Turn 5; Dee Wallace can also be seen in Halloween (2007), Dead End Road, Scar, Popcorn, and Red Christmas.