GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
JEEPERS CREEPERS: REBORN *
Directed by Timo Vuorensola.
Starring Sydney Craven, Imran Adams, Jarreau Benjamin, Matt Barkley, Dee Wallace, Gary Graham.
Horror, UK/US/Finland, 88 mins, cert 15.
Released in the UK on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital via 101 Films on 10th October 2022.
Okay, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way – JEEPERS CREEPERS: REBORN is the fourth movie in the horror franchise and has nothing to do with the series’ original creator. It is always going to be a controversial issue but whatever your stance on it, the original JEEPERS CREEPERS was a popular movie and, thanks to when it came out, was perfectly placed to be a key entry-level horror movie in many a young genre fan’s education. Main villain The Creeper was one of the more interesting horror characters in a post-Freddy and Jason landscape, and if there is money to be squeezed out of a franchise then somebody is going to do it as there will be an audience.
All of which makes it a bit baffling as to why we’ve ended up with the movie that we have, as given the chance to reboot after the atrocious JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 you would at least expect something with production values higher than that of an early 2000s pop music video, but for some reason somebody signed off on a movie with more green screen than it has plot or anything memorable.
So, after the best scene in the movie, which sees The Creeper (Jarreau Benjamin) ripping his way out of a moth-like chrysalis, we begin in a similar fashion to the original movie, with a couple driving down a rural county road and getting tailgated by a huge menacing truck driven by The Creeper. In this case the couple are played by Dee Wallace and Gary Graham, therefore older than the usual teenage cannon fodder and so you would expect them to make sensible decisions but no, because after witnessing The Creeper dispose of a dead body down a rubbish chute they decide that they absolutely must investigate because it is the good ol’ Christian thing to do.
Of course, they regret that decision and then the focus shifts to our new bunch of young victims, and straight away it is obvious the days of sympathetic and likeable characters that you root for have gone as Laine (Sydney Craven) and Chase (Imran Adams) immediately make you wish they were the couple in the opening sting and that Dee Wallace was still in the movie. Liane and Chase are on their way to a Horror Hound carnival, and when they get there they win the chance to enter a Creeper-themed escape room, because in this universe The Creeper is a well-known legend that the whole town seems to be aware of and just accepts the fact that a moth-like creature comes to life every twenty-three years and goes on a twenty-three-day killing spree. In fact, so much in the public consciousness is The Creeper that a cult has built up around it and, thanks to Laine being pregnant, she becomes the creature’s primary target because… well, because she’s pregnant so that means something apparently; it is called REBORN after all, although that doesn’t mean much as the script is as vague as the actor’s sense of place when it comes to acting (sort of) against those ever-present green screens.
And that is basically it, as Laine, Chase and a few rag-tag characters try and leave the escape room without becoming victim to The Creeper, who has undergone something of a makeover since its previous incarnation. Whatever your thoughts or opinions on the original movies and their quality, the strongest element was always The Creeper itself and just how awesome it looked in most of the action scenes, but here we have Creeper-lite, its face resembling a mask bought from a Halloween store – a thrifty one at that – and its movements just not as confident or skilful, and once everyone is inside the escape room and the carnage begins it is very noticeable that this is not the same character or actor as before.
And given that it takes the best part of an hour to get to that point that doesn’t leave much time to get what we came to see, and aside from one or two gory moments there isn’t really much imagination going on here when it comes to the kills (except for one, which is very graphic and is the only highlight after the opening birth scene), so it is basically a bland movie made badly and on the cheap, which begs the question as to why you would want to continue an already contentious horror franchise – when you have the opportunity to totally reinvent it – and put out something that looks like a student film but was made without the passion or ambition of someone just trying to get their work out there.
As we have seen with the WRONG TURN reboot from last year, it is possible to take something that is a little silly and schlocky and do something totally different with it but still keep the original flavour. Given the history of the JEEPERS CREEPERS franchise, and how much the studios don’t really seem to care enough to release anything of a higher standard under the name, then maybe it is time for The Creeper to end its hunt and go back into hibernation because JEEPERS CREEPERS: REBORN is nothing more than an embarrassing reimagining of a franchise that was problematic enough as it was.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans