Jeepers Creepers Reborn - Fathom Events
Credit: Screen Media Films
by Steven Warner Featured Film Genre Views

Jeepers Creepers: Reborn — Timo Vuorensola

October 3, 2022

Jeepers Creepers: Reborn is an inane and butt-ugly franchise continuation that delivers exactly nothing to the hordes of nobody who asked for it.

Jeepers Creepers: Reborn marks the fourth film in the long-running horror series — 21 years, to be exact — but the first not to come courtesy of writer/director/convicted child sex offender Victor Salva. That last bit has always been a major sticking point with fans of the series, who rightfully must acknowledge the abhorrent monster behind the films they so feverishly adore, even as no logical defense exists. To most individuals, such acrobatics were unnecessary, mainly because the movies themselves were terrible, with only the first one reaching a level best described as “serviceable.” Yet even the dregs of 2017’s Godawful third entry could never prepare audiences for Reborn, a soulless cash grab and series reboot courtesy of director Timo Vuorensola, the man responsible for both Iron Sky and its somehow even worse sequel. For those who don’t recall, those films concerned WWII-era Nazis hiding out on the Dark Side of the Moon, plotting to enact a so-called Fourth Reich. Purposely campy, which instantly marked it as obnoxious, it was never as funny nor as clever as it thought it was, although even that kind of self-congratulatory attitude would be preferable to whatever the hell it is Reborn is attempting to do.

Bravely positing that the first three films were indeed only movies — and “cheesy” one, to boot — Reborn wants to establish a sense of gritty realism and authenticity, one that Vuorensola baffling attempts to conjure by having nearly every shot contain the worst greenscreen imaginable. For scenes involving characters driving, one could be a little more forgiving; however, when it is included for interior shots of hotel rooms, the viewer begins to wonder what the hell was preventing the crew from simply going into an actual room or constructing a few walls and getting the damn shot. Indeed, one has to imagine that this entire production was filmed on a completely bare sound stage, a la Marvel, but then the end credits boldly claim that Reborn was “shot on location in Louisiana.” Was there no warehouse available within a closer distance? It’s beyond obvious that this film was funded from tax breaks, and it’s almost guaranteed that the producers took home more than a few dollars — all legally, of course. It all results in an overall look that is so beyond low-budget that it most resembles one of those Bulgarian-shot Uwe Boll productions from a decade ago, and there are legitimately a few shots in this film where the compositing is incomplete and you can see filter demarcations.

Whatever money the production did have clearly went toward the make-up of the titular Creeper, but even that looks like shit. The Creeper, in case you have already forgotten, is a winged creature made up of thick, leather-like skin and body parts he procures from his various victims. He appears every 23 years and hunts for 23 days before returning to hibernation, because mass killings take a lot out of a supernatural entity. In the world of Reborn, the Creeper is an urban legend, akin to the likes of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Grainy footage of him exists, along with hundreds of horrific stories and countless anecdotes, yet he remains strictly in the realm of folklore. Naturally, our two protagonists, lovebirds Laine (Sydney Craven) and Chase (Imran Adams), learn the hard way that he is indeed a flesh-and-blood monster, arriving at a local horror festival celebrating his legend just as he emerges from his 23-year slumber. Reborn’s ten-minute opening scene, involving a never-worse Dee Wallace, harkens back to the original entry before shifting gears and becoming a riff on 2018’s Hell Fest, with its cosplay antics hiding an actual killer. But quickly bored by that route, the film then flirts with Halloween: Resurrection territory, as the YouTube channel hosting the event decides to take our young couple on a tour of the Creeper’s home, because apparently this is a thing that now exists. Soon, Rosemary’s Baby makes an appearance, as the Creeper discovers that Laine is pregnant, and if he eats her fetus, he will be granted immortality(!), which involves some vague sacrificial ceremony. Finally, the film settles into the likes of Halloween, as the Creeper plays cat-and-mouse with his potential victims, having trapped them in his home.

Most of the elements of Sean-Michael Argo’s script feel as though they were hastily written after watching a few episodes of Bravo’s 2004 limited television series The 100 Scariest Movie Moments, which would at least explain why, at one point, the Creeper does his best Jack Nicholson impression a la The Shining after busting through a door, because the Creeper is nothing if not known for his sense of humor. Of course, this incarnation also at one point walks away from an explosion in dramatic slow motion, because the operating logic of the film seems to be why the fuck not? If Reborn sounds so-bad-it’s-good, think again: it’s an utterly painful affair, its 87-minute runtime feeling three times the length. The acting is atrocious, the directing is inept, and the dialogue beyond stupid, including this choice bit: “What do you mean the camera doesn’t work? Like, it won’t turn on? It won’t focus? It won’t fuck itself?” If one wonders what such an aberration might resemble, look no further than Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, where the camera isn’t the only one getting screwed.