Taking place on the last day of the Creeper’s twenty-three-day feeding frenzy, as the skeptical Sargent Tubbs teams up with a task force hellbent on destroying the Creeper for good. The Creeper fights back in gory glory as its enemies grow closer than ever before to learning the secret of its dark origins.
September 26th, 2017
Meg Foster, Gina Philips, and Jonathan Breck
Just like the Barry Bond’s record-breaking home run baseball, Jeepers Creepers 3 will always be tagged with a metaphorical asterisk, one that’ll forever bind the film’s legacy to shameful actions (in this case, the crimes of writer/director Victor Salva). The issue has divided the horror community between those who support a boycott and those able to separate the art from the artist. While the two sides rarely found common ground (as is often the case with emotional issues) the film finally saw its moment in the Sun last night when it premiered for a 1-night-only screening at participating AMC and Cinemark theaters. There will be one more screening on October 4th, but no matter how positive the reviews, JC3 will never get a wider release—which is probably for the best. Jeepers Creepers 3 took more than a decade to produce and the turbulent saga of the film’s production will make for some excellent nonfiction someday. Whatever your opinion is regarding Salva and Jeepers Creepers 3’s right to exist, this has been a noteworthy and completely unique chapter in horror history.
[For a summary of writer/director Victor Salva’s criminal past and why many horror fans are choosing to boycott Jeepers Creepers 3, follow the link embedded in this article. We are also including a link to a statement from Nathan Forrest Winters, Salva’s abuse survivor. We support everyone who chooses to boycott this film but will continue to bring interested readers unbiased reporting.]
Official Synopsis: Taking place on the last day of the Creeper’s twenty-three-day feeding frenzy, as the skeptical Sargent Tubbs teams up with a task force hellbent on destroying the Creeper for good. The Creeper fights back in gory glory as its enemies grow closer than ever before to learning the secret of its dark origins.
The film features Meg Foster, Gina Philips, and Jonathan Breck.
It’s important to know that seeing the first 2 Jeepers Creepers films is absolutely essential for the enjoyment of Jeepers Creepers 3; if you go in blind, you’ll be totally lost. For whatever reason, Jeepers Creepers 3 takes place between the first film (released in 2001) and the 2nd (released in 2003). It literally picks up in the moments after Derry’s (Justin Long) kidnapping and ends on the day the football team boards the bus in JC2. For years, fans had been told to expect a film subtitled Cathedral, a sequel that would explain The Creeper’s origins while featuring a grown-up Trish (Gina Phillips) on a mission to avenge her brother’s death (23 years after the events of the first film). As explained, this is not the film that was actually made. So, while it’s best to think of Jeepers Creepers 3 as an immediate sequel similar to Halloween 2, the decision to put the story between Parts 1 and 2 is a bit mindboggling. Once JC3 arrives on Blu-ray/DVD this December, it will be interesting to what the franchise in chronological order (1, 3, 2) just to test the continuity of this latest chapter.
There’s absolutely a bit of retcon taking place; despite being stripped naked at the end of Part 1, The Creeper is back in his trademark hat & trench-coat, this time sporting a bright red t-shirt beneath it. But these are trivial and nothing when compared to more blatant retroactive continuity (Friday the 13th Part 2, for example). The Creeper’s new look features jet black skin (as opposed to greenish-gray) and has a more iconic look overall. His trusty BEATINGU truck is back and becomes almost a character by itself; it’s more than just a means of transportation for The Creeper: It’s an armored fortress on wheels, complete with as many booby-traps as contraptions than the Batmobile. All in all, The Creeper is a mighty and intimidating monster, and we get some great shots of him in flight and in action.
So how good is this film helmed by a registered sex offender and sporting a ton of continuity issues and plot holes? Pretty damn good. The cinematography popped! The lush greens of spring are highlighted, but we also get brilliant sunset and sunrise shots that are pure autumn, instantly invoking the vibe of Halloween. Everything looks fantastic, which makes us eager to invest in the story, no matter how gruesome it is at its worst. While I love Meg Foster and she was brilliant as a grieving mother driven insane by the ghost of her son, I found her subplot the least engrossing; while she’s one of the biggest name actors in the film, it’s the unknowns who carry the it; the young cast all give excellent performances and an awkward teen relationship becomes the film’s emotional core. Yes, the Creeper’s mythology becomes diluted, but Jeepers Creepers 3 will rank high as one of the best franchise sequels, films that are almost (but not quite) as good as the originals. Rating the film based on its ability to entertain, Jeepers Creepers 3 (ironically) falls right between the first two.
Jeepers Creepers 3 leaves the door wide opened for a sequel. It also hints at The Creepers origins, revealing a few titillating generalities, but leaving even more questions unanswered. Fans will no doubt want to see more. It’s unfortunate because anything else produced by Victor Salva will likely just divided the horror community once again. I’m not the only one to suggest that Slava should hand the property off to more deserving (less controversial) filmmakers. That way, fans could see more of the Creeper and those opposed to Salva’s participation can enjoy the products while maintaining their stance. I imagine producers will be keen to analyze the response from last night’s screening while plotting the franchise’s future.
Bottom Line: Jeepers Creepers 3 is a hit, but fans who have waited more than a decade to see it might suffer from too-high expectations. Still, it’s a solid sequel and entertaining as hell. Hints at the Creeper’s origins are compelling, and everything looks fantastic. It’s horror bubble gum that’s easy to consume and fun to partake in. I enjoyed The Creeper’s sleek new look and the cast of fresh faces.
Related Article: Horror Fans Launch Petition to Boycott “Jeepers Creepers 3”