It’s not that Jeepers Creepers II is a bad movie, it just suffers from the same syndrome that the majority of horror sequels do: it adds little to the lore of the main bad guy, and tries to make him funnier, which doesn’t work.
This sequel takes place just a few days after the events of the first film, and a group of high school basketball players (who just won the State Championship) are riding back home on a school bus. The bus gets a flat tire, not once, but twice, breaking it down on the side of some highway in the middle of nowhere.
The main problem with this one is the lack of focus: there isn’t really one or two main characters, but rather two main groups of people. There is the high school kids, and then there is a farmer and his son who are hunting the monster to avenge the loss of their son/brother. This hurts because the audience doesn’t really know who they should be rooting for. The kids are obnoxious and annoying, and the father/son duo isn’t seen enough for the viewer to truly care about them. Are we supposed to be rooting for the creature this time around? It’s hard to tell.
There is also a strange amount of homoeroticism in the film. When we first meet the group of high school kids, the majority of the male, teenaged, student-athletes are topless, chanting a fight song that repeats the word “cock” over and over (to which a joke is cleverly made by one of the few female cheerleaders on the bus). From there, other male characters are introduced – topless for some reason – as well as talks of homosexuality. All of this, along with the exploration of race relations between the boys, seems tacked on and pointless. The worst offender of this, though, is when the creature suggestively licks the glass windows of the school bus, staring down one of the boys, “tasting his fear” through his clothes. It’s just an awkward moment that adds to this strange theme that is felt throughout.
(Disclaimer: I do know of Victor Salva’s past, and this may play into my theory here. While watching his films I do my best to separate the man from the art, but it’s difficult in this situation. I hope there is no relation. Google him if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)
JCII is also a bit too long for it’s own good. There’s no doubt fifteen minutes could’ve been cut from this, and it probably would’ve helped streamline things a bit. The final battle between the humans and the monsters is dragged out much too long, especially given the nature of this creature.
I definitely enjoyed JCII, but it’s a far cry from the gem that is the original.