2022 | rated R | starring Sydney Craven | directed by Timo Vuorensola | 1h 28m |
Laine (Sydney Craven) and her boyfriend Chase (Imran Adams) drive to a small town carnival that celebrates the urban legend of The Creeper. Chase is delighted when the couple is nominated to be in a house-sized Creeper themed escape room and learns that the legend is all to real. Wouldn’t you know it, the escape room is really a sacrifice ground for the real Creeper.
Jeepers Creepers was a fun movie and a budget-sized hit in 2001. It introduced a new movie monster in an homage to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Creeper had an ability set that mixed the supernatural (he regrows body parts by eating them in victims) and the modern (he drives a weapon-clad hillbilly batmobile) with potential to power a franchise. The problem was creator Victor Salva was a convicted child rapist and while we’re 2 or 3 years from Hollywood celebrating such a thing, right now that still doesn’t sit well with the viewing public. After 3 decreasingly profitable files, this minor-attracted director, the ahead-of-his-time Salva was finally purged from the series after the direct-to-cable Jeepers Creepers 3. With the franchise in the hands of a new director, it’s amazing that the 4th film, Jeepers Creepers Reborn looks and plays even worse than than the SyFy Channel Original look of it’s predecessor.
There are indie movies and then there are backyard movies. Reborn looks like something you and your friends could have got together and shot in a week. The majority of it is shot against a green screen or in a warehouse not unlike the one in Saw 2. The script is terrible, the acting is terrible. It’s not fun, it’s not scary. It can’t execute a jump scare sting or moment of suspense. Even with it’s potential for camp, bad movie connoisseurs will find it lacking the charm and fun of a misguided low budget bad movie. This is a movie that doesn’t show it’s kills in full, not out of restraint but because it doesn’t have the skill, money or time to pull them off convincingly.
Reborn is barely a movie. It’s generous to say it’s in the horror genre because it begs the question that a movie should have some level of effectiveness in the genre to be awarded as such. It’s R rating even seems like a wholly undeserved compliment to the filmmakers as it implies there is something created here that resembles real violence or gore And I’m all for a cheesy one-liner but this movie ends with our heroine tossing a dagger in the Creepers eye and saying… (clears throat)… “how do you like those peepers, bitch”. It’s painful.
There are a few reasons this shouldn’t have gone this way. The first of which is the director. Timo Vuorensola is the creator of the Iron Sky series, a direct-to-video sci-fi concoction of campy influences that looks like a real theatrical movie. Iron Sky (and it’s fun sequel The Coming Race where a dinosaur chariot race goes on at the center of the Earth) is well-regarded in campy movie circles for good reason. It knows how silly it is and plays into it. Vuorensola has shown he can do convincing things with a small budget, that he can match the tone with the material. It’s stunning that a movie with a scope a fraction of the size of Iron Sky looks this bad and hits this tone-deaf.
The 2nd reason is the potential here. I’m stunned that no studio is guarding and nurturing the creation that is The Creeper. How can nobody at any studio level see the value of this as a product? Vuorensola gets handed the keys and squashes it. At this point the copyright should just be released to the public. Any aspiring film student with a phone camera and a youtube account could make a better Jeepers Creepers movie than what we’re given here.