Armed with a complete disconnect of how to craft an effective horror film, “Jeepers Creepers: Reborn” is here to insult and anger fans of the creative original.
Beginning with an opening scene (featuring the great Dee Wallace and Gary Graham) that promises the shape of fun things that never come, screenwriter Sean-Michael Argo and director Timo Vuorensola have unleashed a laughably inept attempt at rebooting the already fractured horror franchise.
Laine (Sydney Craven, playing one of the most unlikeable heroines in genre film history) and boyfriend Chase (Imran Adams in a goofy turn) are headed to a carnival named “Horror Hound”, a strange mixture of horror junkies, witchcraft, and “fans” of The Creeper, the monstrous villain of the series.
Wouldn’t you know, the young couple win an adventure into a Creeper-themed escape room.
The fact that the screenwriters decided to make the monster a celebrity is ridiculous. To make this mysterious and (most importantly) reclusive creature a Pop Culture star is absurd.
Add to this that a group of witches and warlocks seem to be in touch with him (remember, The Creeper was only supposed to come around every 23 years), luring young victims to their death in a kind of sacrifice to their unholy god.
Laine is secretly pregnant so one of the witches sets her up to give her baby to the creature. The witch claims for eternal life, or something to that effect. It is never clear. Isn’t The Creeper already mortal? Did the filmmakers even see the first films?
The film is a failure in every level. The most offensive? The Creeper no longer seems menacing. The director doesn’t know how to use him properly. He pops out, snarls a bit, eats a brain, and fights his victims as if he were center ring for the World Wrestling Federation.
It seems they blew what little budget they could scrounge up on the creature’s design, which is quite underwhelming. He looks like a man in a mask and far from the ghoulish demon from the originals. Every choice the preposterous screenplay makes robs the character of its creepy allure.
The set design is so awful that I longed for the cardboard walls of Ed Wood films. Bad green screens and sets not worthy of a Carol Burnett skit sink any intended atmosphere the picture was seeking.
Another head-scratcher is how the film is full of desperate references to many horror films. The callbacks are out of place and have nothing to do with anything happening. They exist only for the creators to say to their audience, “See? We know Horror!”
Vuorensola proves to be clumsy director with no eye for style nor atmosphere. His shot compositions (that may be too strong a word) are boring and any visual references to other genres fall flat.
The film’s most embarrassing shot finds The Creeper walking away from an explosion in slow motion as if he were in a Michael Bay action flick. The reason for this shot existing in a horror film is a question even the smartest of scholars couldn’t answer.
Everything about the film is pathetic.
Enough with the ironic uses of pop songs from different eras. Enough with undercooked horror screenplays that insult their audiences. Enough with creating dumb and uninteresting protagonists who exist only to die.
Finally, enough with defaming beloved horror films. The original “Jeepers Creepers” was a good time and has a devoted fanbase. This film is insipid junk.
“Jeepers Creepers: Reborn” is not the nail in the franchise’s coffin, but the cement that buries it into the earth to forever rot.
Let us hope so at least.
Jeepers Creepers: Reborn
Written by Sean-Michael Argo
Directed by Timo Vuorensola
Starring Sydney Craven, Imran Adams, Jarreau Benjamin
R, 88 Minutes, Screen Media/Black Hnager Studios/Orwo Studios