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JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 (2017)
aka JEEPERS CREEPERS: RAVENOUS, JEEPERS CREEPERS: CATHEDRAL
Directed by Victor Salva
Written by Victor Salva
Starring Stan Shaw, Gabrielle Haugh, Brandon Smith, Meg Foster, Jordan Salloum, Chester Rushing, Jason Bayle, Ryan Moore, Michael Sirow, Joyce Giraud, Michael Papajohn, Cade Burk, Patrick Thomas Cragin, Justin Dwayne Hall, Frankie Smith, Meg Wright, Carrie Lazar, Thomas Francis Murphy, Mark Chavarria, and Jonathan Breck as the Creeper!
Find out more about this film here!
While Victor Salva did a despicable thing, the filmmaker did do his time. It doesn’t necessarily redeem Salva, it will steer some folks clear of his work, no matter what his penance. Personally, I try my best to judge the work, rather than the artist and having seen JEEPERS CREEPERS and it’s sequel, I must admit, I was curious to see what Salva had up his sleeve with this third film. What he delivered is a much more straight forward schlock horror film with less of the creepy pedo aspects that appeared in previous JEEPERS CREEPERS entries.
JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 opens with a tale of a Creeper visit from yesteryear. We know the demonic monster known as the Creeper feasts for 23 days every 23 years and that very little stops the monster once it has set it’s sights on you. In this installment, more mystical Creeper powers emerge and a woman named Gaylen Brandon (Meg Foster) who encountered the Creeper 23 years prior, reveals that she buried the hand of the Creeper in a field long ago. Hunting again, the Creeper has set his sights on Gaylen’s granddaughter Addison (Gabrielle Haugh) and her semi-boyfriend Buddy (Chester Rushing) along with anyone else who gets in the way. MONSTER SQUAD’s Stan Shaw plays a local Sheriff who survived the Creeper’s rampage 23 years ago as well and spends most of the movie trying to convince his old buddy (another sheriff played Brandon Smith) that the Creeper isn’t a man but a creature no one can understand. Meanwhile, the hand is unearthed and those who grasp it get a taste of what exactly the Creeper really is…though we as the viewer are never really given any of that info other than vague hints that it is much older than any of us can imagine.
The good of this film is that there are no scenes of underwear sniffing or prolonged shots of shirtless teenage boys. These scenes, given Salva’s history, always gave me a feeling much creepier than the Creeper himself and I’m glad the director chose not to add in these little scenes which felt almost as if the director were shoving his personal turn-ons into the viewers faces. This is much more of a straight up monster film and though the production level is considerably lower than JEEPERS CREEPERS 1 & 2, Salva does prove that he is a talented filmmaker, even when the money is tight. There are a few really well choreographed scenes where the Creeper and the Sheriffs are engaged in a standoff in the field, some fun sequences involving the Creeper’s truck (which takes center stage here more than it has in the past), and some interesting scenes involving Meg Foster’s mystic connection with the Creeper. I also liked the way this film fits in with the first two installments of this series as it does so in a rather unconventional way that I won’t reveal here.
The budget is low here and it shows in certain scenes, especially in terms of the viewer not seeing the visions that those who grasp the severed Creeper hand see which somehow provide them with a clue as to what the Creeper is and why he does what he does. I’m sure this was in the script somewhere in the early stages, but weren’t able to be filmed due to lack of cash. This leaves a lot to the imagination and while Salva tries to film around it, the film probably provides the least amount of insight into the Creeper’s mythology than the first two films and thus not making it especially crucial to see. Not many answers are given in this one. It simply is the Creeper stalking, capturing, and killing a bunch of people. For those who enjoyed the twisted behavior of the monster in the past, it is more of the same, but I feel the coolness of the Creeper is not highlighted as well here. It also takes place mostly in the daylight (for reasons that is made clear at the very end of the film), so much of the ominous atmosphere of the Creeper in the shadows is not present here.
The acting is rough in patches, specifically from the younger actors, who don’t really have the range someone like Justin Long or Ray Wise had in previous films, but they do a decent enough job to carry the story from beginning to end. The ending of this film promises another sequel to add to the JEEPERS CREEPERS franchise and honestly, I hope they end up doing it. Despite the behind the scenes atrocities committed by the director, Salva is talented in bringing the horror on screen, especially in this JEEPERS CREEPERS franchise. The cameo at the end of this film really is an exciting one and with rumors that the script is already written for PART 4, it looks as if the Creeper will fly again some time soon. If it’s made, I’ll watch it.