Starring Ray Wise, Nicki Aycox and Jonathan Breck
A bus load of state-winning high school basketball players and their cheerleading squad are on their way back home after the big game however they are ambushed by the flying creature known as the Creeper, still on it’s feeding spree.
He can taste your fear!
Set just days after the original film’s conclusion, a farmer Jack Taggart (Wise) is out farming with his boys when one of the scarecrows attacks his youngest son. Taggart and his other son try to retrieve the boy but the scarecrow sprouts wings and flies off with his body leaving the farmer bewildered and mortified over the sudden loss of his son and taken by a creature they’ve never seen before.
The next day, a bus carrying a high school basketball team on their way home from winning the championship, suffer a blowout. The teachers inspect the tire and discover a ninja star made of skin and bone. Not sure what to make of it, they get the spare and go on their merry way until the tire gets blown out again. Minxie, one of the cheerleaders, has a vision of Darius from the original film (Justin Long cameo!) telling her to turn back. She goes on to have several more visions as the film goes on to explain the Creeper’s motives so the kids know what they’re dealing with…really, that’s the best script you can do? Sudden visions that explain the plot? Jeeeez.
Though there’s a lot of hormonal tension/racism on the bus between the schoolmates –this is set in the south, I think– it’s not long before the Creeper swoops in to take out the teachers and he’s left with a bus load of young victims. He actually picks out the ones he wants, like it’s a lobster tank, yet he pretty much goes after everybody anyway. He tears the bus apart as the teens do their best to fight back, though their numbers do dwindle as the movie goes on. One of the students uses the bus radio to try to call for help and the signal gets picked up by Taggart who is listening on his police scanner for any clues on missing people in the area. He arrives with his eldest son with a makeshift harpoon gun on his truck and they wage their personal war on the Creeper, who just wants some take out before he goes back into hibernation.
As the film reminds us in the beginning, the Creeper feeds every 23rd spring for 23 days. The film winds down on the 23rd day so the kids really just have to survive the night. They wouldn’t know this if Minxie didn’t have those visions, which I bring up again but it’s real stupid. I enjoyed the original film which I found suspenseful at times and had a great film monster in the Creeper. While I still enjoy the monster, and the funny little things that he does, I couldn’t help but notice that the filmmakers turned him into an unstoppable creature. Tear half his head off? That’s ok, he’ll just rip off someone else’s and plunk it on his neck and voila, new head! Did he do that in the last one?
The film is a bit more bloody than the last one, The Creeper gets a decent decapitation in but he’s limited to a lot of clawing and scratching. Actually, he probably gets the worst of it on screen by getting harpooned several times in the head. I found the focus was more on action than anything scary, so aside from maybe a couple of initial jump scares, the film is lacking in suspense.
Story: 3 – A busload of kids are on the menu for the Creeper who has a farmer out to get him on a personal vendetta. A good portion of the plot gets revealed via random visions which is pretty darn stupid.
Blood: 6 – A lot of bloody wounds but the worst thing is probably the decapitation scene.
Nudity: 1 – Nothing really though the ladies/dudes get a ton of shirtless guys walking around.
Overall: 4 – The first one was really good and you should probably stick to that instead unless you just need more of the Creeper.
-Writer/director Victor Salva used Moby Dick’s Captain Ahab as his idea for Jack Taggart, even going so far as to write in the script the famous line “from Hell’s heart I stab thee” but cut that line out.
-Justin Long has a small cameo as Darius from the original film. Gina Philips opted not to return.
-A third film has been greenlit and ready for production next year.