MOVIE REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 (Spoilers)

Before you begin, please be warned that there are major spoilers contained in this review. I do not do this to be mean-spirited, rather, it’s the opposite.
I would not wish this movie on anyone, and I am hoping that by reading this, I’ll spare you an hour and a half of your life. Also, yes, if you decide to watch this, you need to watch the prior films to come full circle. The writers thought they were being clever. They were not.

The opening scene of JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 starts off well enough. There’s a boy running from what you’d think is a truck, tearing down the streets like his life depended on it. Indeed it did, because very shortly after that, a creature swoops in from the sky and snatches him off of his feet, an object falling to the ground. The truck comes to a stop, and a young man gets out, bewildered by what he’s witnessed, and retrieves the object. Remember him. He’ll be important. Let’s skip ahead 23 springs, because that’s when it eats. With more cheesy, classic horror music in the background, a team of police surround a truck with a notorious license plate and strange odor, and begin to prod at it.

Because, you know. That’s what you do, right? Sheriff Dan Tashtego (Stan Shaw) makes an appearance with an unusual addition to the team; a rag-tag band of men who’ve lost loved ones to the creature as young children, and have dedicated themselves to killing it. Even when the creepy truck clamps spikes down on an officer’s arm upon being open (one guess to the gruesome smell folks), Officer Davis Tubbs (Brandon Smith) refuses to believe the old legend of The Creeper.

Not to be controversial, but of course the middle-aged, overweight white cop doesn’t buy into it. Really, writing team? Really?
So when incompetence and a refusal to follow orders has a deputy and tow truck driver hauling the death machine away, it doesn’t take long for more bodies to drop. The Creeper releases the truck from its chains, and it drives off with him on the roof, taking Frank the tow truck driver and leaving Deputy Dana Lang behind. We can assume she lives, because that’s how we left her, but she never shows up again in the movie or is mentioned, so do with that what you will. Who doesn’t just love characters falling off the face of the planet? Oh, just me?

There’s a small bit with some punk kids, early twenties, who find the newly freed truck while tearing up the county roads on their dirt bikes. Long story short, they laugh at the legend and decide, in true small town boy gone bored fashion, that they should break the windows before making their exit. While three of the four endeavor for that, one manages to pry open the back double doors and reveal the dead bodies wrapped in burlap inside. Turning tail to run, the truck shoots a spear (admittedly, it has a pretty neat design on it) and catches on boy in the leg. After several minutes of attempting to free their friend from his harpoon, one runs off, leaving the other three to their inevitable deaths. No worries, he gets his in the end, because dirt bikes are loud and The Creeper can fly.

In my opinion, the best part of the movie is Gaylen Brandon, played by Meg Foster, who is a pivotal part of the team of hunters origins. Here’s where it gets a bit complicated to follow if you haven’t seen the previous films recently, especially since it is not said outright. In the first Jeepers Creepers, the brother and sister mention an urban legend in which a young interracial couple, Kenny and Darla, are involved in a terrible accident.The two go missing, the only thing found at the scene of the accident was Darla’s body. Her head was gone. Later, Darry, the brother, says The Creeper sewed it back on. Now, bringing it back to us. Gaylen is an elderly woman who lives with her granddaughter, Addie (Gabrielle Haugh). She’s a bit nuts, and Foster does a beautiful job of playing the role of demented, grieving woman. She happens to be the mother of the boy from the legend, murdered 23 years prior. Foster puts on a powerful performance, leaving you aching as she screams at the wind, where she sees her son’s ghost, while Addie looks on in pity, and the town dismisses her sanity. It would be easy to assume that Addie is, indeed, Kenny’s daughter, especially after he tells his mother that he’s hidden something under the ground by the tree on the hill, something that belongs to the Creeper, and that it’ll return for it. But if you think logically, that can’t be true as Darla was dead as well, and Addie was sent to live there by her mother, who we can assume is Gaylen’s second child. Her father is not mentioned that I recall. Heeding her son’s warning, Gaylen requests Addie stay somewhere else for a few days, and does not tell her why. Angry, she leaves their home in search of feed for her beloved horse.

It turns out, because small town, Addie gets her feed from the father of the boy she likes that likes her but neither will just suck it up and kiss someone already. The dad denies her purchase, because Gaylen’s credit is bad, leading to an embarrassed retreat and a hasty rescue by his son, Buddy Hooks (Chester Rushing), as he chases her down with bales of hay in his truck. He witnesses Gaylen’s alleged insanity, and invites Addie to help with his last delivery. She agrees.
Once they get there, things turn weird. Everyone who worked on the ranch was hiding under trailers and trucks. Buddy leaves Addie in his truck alone, and returns quickly once being told to high-tail it out of there and get help.

So, OF COURSE, his truck won’t start. Why the hell would it? It was fine five minutes ago. But despite that it’s been 23 years, we still have trucks from the early whenever’s that probably haven’t been taken care of properly. I swear, nothing was updated at all in 23 years. There are cell phones, but who gets service with those? Fancy pocket stuffing, that’s all.

Anyways.

Everyone dies, and The Creeper realizes that the two would-be lovebirds are huddled in the truck. The important thing to remember about the Creeper is that it eats based on the smell of your fear; the more terrified you are, the more likely it’ll be to eat you. Lovely. As it goes for Buddy, it gets a whiff of a pungent Addie. My guess is it recognizes a similar smell to Kenny Brandon from its last feast, because he wastes no time in taking Addie, alive, and leaving Buddy, also alive.
To cut it short, because I have so much to say, there’s a showdown with the sheriff and Officer Tubbs vs The Creeper after finding out the object Kenny had found the night before his final date was the hand of the Creeper, the object that fell in the beginning of the movie. Touching it tells you the Creeper’s origins. After learning that, the sheriff is killed during their gun vs Klingon-Hellboy fight. Yeah, not the best character design. Tubbs walks away, and the Creeper returns to Addie. Now Gaylen realizes she’s been taken, and Buddy has gotten over his shock and guilt at allowing it to happen, causing the two to team up in search for their mutual love. The Creeper, realizing Addie is still alive in her little sack, tries to kill her, but she manages to wedge a pole in its eye and escape the truck. It’s wing damaged from its fight with the sheriff, it can’t fly, and now it’s sight is too skewed to throw its spear. She stumbles across a road, where her “rescuers” (seriously, they did nothing) find her. The Creeper inevitably falls to its knees screaming as it realizes they know it’s secret. For some reason that’s enough to make it make tracks, and a broken Creeper disappears. The movie ends with Buddy getting on a bus after saying farewell to his new girlfriend. He’s headed to state, and he’ll be back. But the 23 days of its cycle isn’t over yet, and we’ve all seen Jeepers Creepers 2.

So basically they got the two movies swapped, and because of the time difference, they assumed we wouldn’t notice the inconsistencies. I did.
It is not said explicitly if Buddy dies in Jeepers Creepers 2, as he isn’t a named character in the movie, but let’s just assume he did not. It’s mentioned that he has family in the area his team is traveling to, so he may spend an extra day there. One would assume that means he lives, but this watching this movie will make an ass out of you and me, so let’s not assume.

There’s a lot to dislike about this film. For starters, they only reference the infamous song that shares a title with the franchise once, and it isn’t even played. Secondly, you see the Creeper within five minutes and then throughout the whole thing. There is no mystery whatsoever, and as I previously mentioned, he looks like a bad crossover of a Klingon and Hellboy, with blond hair.He wags his fingers and whistles. WHISTLES. The musical score is bad, cult classic instrumental horror, and not even in a nostalgic, B-list movie way.

Honestly, the first two Jeepers Creepers were the things of my childhood nightmares. I’m a horror movie addict, and I scare very easy. I’m sitting home alone at night, watching this movie, and I don’t think my heart rate quickened half a beat even once. The acting, with the exception of Haugh and Foster, felt forced and overreactive to me. Honestly, I nearly quit the movie within the first twenty minutes.

The way this last film was basically forced to fit between the two previous movies doesn’t sit well with me. It’s been a long time, around 14 years, since the second one, and it’s left the third open for loose transitions and large inconsistencies. There’s no suspense. I’m seriously hoping that the questions I have about Buddy’s survival and the tentative connection to the second film does not mean there will be a fourth. At the end of the second, John Taggert JR has the creature mounted on his barn wall, waiting to kill it. My open plea to the team behind the franchise: let me just assume he does. A follow-up visit is unnecessary.

Director: Victor Salva
Writers: Victor Salva
Stars: Stan ShawGabrielle HaughBrandon Smith & more…See full cast & crew

Trailer:

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