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.”