Between production delays due to a global pandemic, and having to publicize that it had nothing to do with the previous creator, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn has had a rough road several years in the making. Unfortunately for the final film, the result leaves a lot to be desired. Jeepers Creepers: Reborn has a few things going for it, but it has a lot going against it…
Note: We were initially hesitant to see and review this movie due to its connection with franchise creator Victor Salva. The only reason we felt comfortable doing so was upon learning that Salva was not involved in any way, shape, or form.
The film opens with Gary Graham and Dee Wallace as a married couple in what appears to be the 1950s-1960s. They’re taking a leisurely drive down a long country road and encounter an all too familiar truck with a menacing driver that stalks them and puts them in mortal danger. The entire sequence lasts for the film’s first ten minutes, and honestly it’s the best part of the movie.
Both Graham and Wallace are veterans of their craft, and in just a few minutes they establish themselves as a loving couple who are in genuine terror, but also find bravery in the moment. Had the entire film been about them, it would have been miles better (no pun intended). It’s well acted, and the car chase scenes are shot with a great deal of tension and suspense.
But alas, their sequence is only meant to be a prologue to the rest of the film. We then jump ahead to modern day, with a far less charming couple Laine (Sydney Craven) and Chase (Imran Adams). They’re driving on the very same road and discuss the couple played by Graham and Wallace, as their story is now something of an urban myth.
The immediate issue with these two characters is the same of many in this film, exposition by dialogue. The writing has Laine reiterate over and over that she’s a scientist and doesn’t believe in superstition, which is something that her boyfriend would already know but she’s reciting the clunky lines for the sake of the audience.
Amidst the flaws in writing and effects (which we’ll get to), the second act of the film that brings Laine and Chase to a horror convention/festival is legitimately enjoyable at times. There’s a whole host of extras in cosplay and much like the movie Hell Fest, it does make you wish you were there participating in it.
Granted, the horror movie references feel a little indulgent at times and don’t really amount to anything. It would have been really fascinating to see Chase use his knowledge of horror movies to battle the Creeper, but that would have required a much more coherent and thoughtful script…
The sad fact is, despite the somewhat enjoyable middle part, and very solid opening scene, there’s just too much working against this movie to help it. The screenwriting felt like it came from a first draft, most of the British actors struggle very hard to keep up their American accents, and as much as we hate criticizing bad effects, something needs to be said about them.
It’s unfair to blame or criticize lower budget horror films for lacking the same quality CGI you might find in a big budget blockbuster. But usually this results in those lower budget horror films having to be more creative with their effects. Jeeper Creepers: Reborn on the other hand boasts some of the worst looking green screen in recent memory. There are YouTube videos that look better, plus at one point the Creeper takes off flying it looks like the VFX weren’t even done rendering.
The Creeper himself gets a few good moments, and when he’s done with practical makeup, he looks pretty good and has a gleefully monstrous feel to him. So if you go into Jeepers Creepers: Reborn with extremely low expectations, you’ll probably enjoy at least some of it.
What did you think of Jeepers Creepers: Reborn? Are you a fan or able to watch the earlier movies in the franchise? Let us know in the comments!