Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed

The Canadian horror film Ginger Snaps garnered only small box office in its original run, but terrific reviews and strong rentals prompted both a sequel and a prequel (not yet released). At the end of the first movie, the titular Ginger is dead, Brigitte has been infected with lycanthropy, and the mess they’ve left behind means the surviving sister can no longer remain in Bailey Downs. Given the film’s portrayal of suburbia, being forced to move out may be the sunny side of the situation.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Brett Sullivan
Writer: Megan Martin

Emily Perkins: Brigitte
Tatiana Maslany: “Ghost”
Katherine Isabelle: Ginger
Eric Johnson: Tyler
Janet Kidder: Alice

Premise:

It’s uncertain how much time has passed since the first film. In Ginger Snaps, Brigitte was in her early teens. Emily Perkins is at this point clearly no teenager, though she could still pass for one in the typical Hollywood horror-fest. She has been on the lam, injecting herself with wolfbane in order to keep her inner beast at bay. At the same time, another werewolf stalks her, hoping to find a mate.

She soon finds herself mistaken for a drug addict and put into a gothic institution for rehab, where she must regain her wolfbane before her transformation leads to bloody carnage.

High Points:

Ginger died in the last movie, but she appears throughout this film as a product of Brigitte’s imagination; the sister she had to kill, quite naturally, haunts her mind. These appearances are brief, but the old chemistry remains. Brigitte forms a new bond with “Ghost,” a cheerfully- disturbed child of indeterminate age and implausible resourcefulness. Perkins and Tatiana Maslany put in strong performances, but the relationship never feels as believable as did the sisters’ in the original.

Low Points:

The transformation isn’t handled nearly so well as in the first film, and the little-seen wolf-creature remains uninspiring.

More seriously, the film suffers from two major problems. Firstly, the plot lacks focus. The original had a purity of concept: lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty, and clean-cut suburbia as nightmare of hidden horrors. The sequel meanders, uncertain of where to go. Secondly, it lacks a familiar context for the weirdness. Ginger Snaps II takes a few satiric stabs at teen and contemporary issues, most notably self-mutilation. The familiar neighbourhood has been left far behind; this film shows us a twilight, snow-covered world of abandoned places. Unlike the first film, I had little in which to ground myself. Does the already infamous group masturbation scene, for example, really happen, or is it enhanced by Brigitte’s imagination? Do institutes such as this one really exist?

Shouldn’t a horror movie be scarier?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 3/6.

Story: 4/6:

Acting: 5/6.

Production: 5/6

Emotional Response: 4/6

Overall: 3/6.

In total, Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed receives 27/42.

Final Comments:

The original film may be purchased here and here. A sequel, which has an earlier incarnation of the sisters fighting lycanthropes in 19th-century Canada, is due out soon.

I saw Ginger Snaps II with my youthful sidekick, Singularity Girl. She had even stronger views of this film than I did, and I promised her the last word:

“The only reason I wanted to see that is because Ginger is so hot. She’s barely in that movie…. I’m stupider for having seen that.”

6 replies on “Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed”

  1. NSA says:

    To quote “Star Wars”…
    “I have a bad feeling about this…”

    The original “Ginger Snaps” wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely fresh, funny and disturbing. Some parts were downright hilarious (their mom, the film they make for school) and dark humour, well-done, never hurts a horror movie. I’d go so far as to say that GS did the “suburban teenage life as hell” thing almost as well as Buffy in some ways.

    The lycanthropy-menstruation parallel was risky and they pulled it off pretty well, in my admittedly male opinion. Ginger was sexy but also dangerous enough to preclude her becoming a cheesecake male fantasy, and Emily Perkins’ unusual looks were one of the bolder casting decisions since Shelley Duvall in “The Shining” (I think having horror movies populated entirely by generically pretty people diminishes the impact somehow).

    Anyway, that kind of originality is hard to make a good followup to. “Blair Witch 2”, anyone?! Not to mention the original didn’t really call for a sequel, except in that it had an “open” ending. Sadly, open endings seem to result in crappy unneccessary sequels, in Hollywood >:-(

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: To quote “Star Wars”…

      Sadly, open endings seem to result in crappy unneccessary sequels, in Hollywood >:-(

      Doesn’t apply, Ginger Snaps is as Canadian as Hockey, eh? This is part of the reason for the low budget, they were state funded by an organization that doesn’t really know how to produce something that people actually want to see.

      Mock Hollywood all you want, but they have a better track record for mass international appeal in television and movies than any other production system.

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: To quote “Star Wars”…

        Mock Hollywood all you want, but they have a better track record for mass international appeal in television and movies than any other production system.

        It could be argued that the good-to-bad film ratio is what makes Hollywood unpalatable to most. For every good movie you can name, odds are we could throw out two or three bad ones (and half of those would be sequels to a genuinely good movie).

    • Punk Chick says:

      Re: To quote “Star Wars”…
      Well I dont know about a lot of people but I saw it last night and I thought that it was a great movie and that, I cant wait for the 3rd one to come out I liked that first one b/c it was like a movie that teens did and I could get in to it, not just b/c I’m a girl or any thing, but just b/c I like to hear things that are not really if I could I would be a kick butt lycan (or so my friends think). lol but ya I would really like to her more good things about GS2. And Emily Perkins is a really great actress and I would like to see her in more rolles good and bad.

  2. antihero says:

    And on a side note…
    the film includes some no-doubt wonderful collage work from Stephen Notley. All hail the angry flower.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: And on a side note…

      Right. Ghost’s collage work. Yeah, if we had a “nifty crazy girl collages” category, GS II would net a 6/6.

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