Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
Director: Brett Sullivan
Brigitte (Perkins), sister of dead were-girl Ginger (Isabelle) is tossed in a loony/drug center. With her lupine symptoms kicking in and a werewolf in heat roaming about, yearning for a piece of her pie, she’s in for some hairy bad times at the outhouse.
Having boogied hard to “Ginger Snaps” and being that I was pumped by the tight trailer for this follow- up, I came into this sequel with some anticipation. Having finally seen it, I can say that I dug some of it, but was mostly disappointed.
"Ginger Snaps 2" did start on the right paw with a bleakly stylish opening credit reel and a promising setup that had Brigitte (Perkins) committed with high stakes set against her. The mood at hand was deliciously darker in terms of tone than the original and I adored the slick visual communication of the imposing claustrophobic setting. On a character level, Emily Perkins was the show and carried it like a one-girl army. Her gripping presence was the main reason my eyes stayed on the screen. You go, fellow Canuck! Horror-wise, only one "jolt" stayed with me. Think: coke snorting gal + werewolf + sheet of plastic = YEEHAW! That one was a keeper! Lastly, some of the early humor (which disappeared for the rest of the running time) rubbed my button the right way with that masturbation marathon, in particular, taking me for a loop-the-loop. I didn’t see that one coming! NICE!
But frustratingly, the limp screenplay (which I hear was constantly re-written as the shoot progressed) went on to crash and burn this sequel for me. The stank began with the ample poor dialogue at hand with the worst guilty party, in that respect, being the “love her or hate her” character of Ghost (Maslany). Much to my dismay, the girly kept talking in rhymes or in prose. Here’s one of her many highlights; “Where did it come from? The infinite darkness?” BARRRRRF! Hey cutie, just because you’re a little fruity up there doesn’t mean you can’t talk like regular people. You guessed it; I was on the “hate her” side of the dagger when it came to that tackily named dame. Then, we had the poorly drawn side players who were either boring or solely there to act as cheap “tools” to lead the storyline in its intended and often trivial direction. Yeah, I got so much out of them (sarcasm). To keep the groan festival going, the handling of Ginger’s (Isabelle) glorious "return” was as corny as corn. Her unexplained apparitions ruined some moments and her lines commenting the happenings reeked of Cheese-Wiz. I kept saying to myself: “If Ginger says “It's time” one more time, I’m going to murder my pet snake!” Her presence in the film was useless and felt like it was mostly there simply to justify the title.
It didn’t get much better on a narrative level. The first block set up two very gripping horror inclined plot lines: 1) Brigitte might turn into a werewolf too soon and slaughter everybody in the “loser bin” and 2) A horny male werewolf is on her tail, wanting to do the nasty with her. But instead of diving deep into its potentially horror-heavy bathtub, the story gets lost in the woods instead. The middle section lagged like a pooch in search of a spot to mark and was just plain embarrassing. And since it didn’t know where to go, it padded time with endless yapping and an emphasis on the Brigitte/Ghost relationship. Problem is...I didn’t give a pork’s buttcheek about their tie from the get-go. so that big chunk of bla-bla didn’t fulfill me one bit as I was waiting for something SUBSTANTIAL to happen! Where was the suspense regarding Brigitte’s imminent transformation? So much more could’ve been done with that! Where was the sense of imminent doom regarding that wandering killer male werewolf in heat? I didn’t feel it! Is this a horror movie or an “After School Special”? Sheesh!
To add venom to venom, I also had mixed feelings about the conclusion of this picture. On the one end, I dug the werewolf design (don’t blink) and found the last frames to be somewhat sly, but on the other end, the cap-off had too many conveniences leeched to it, not enough action and those last frames, although unique, felt like they belonged in another movie. I was yearning for a REAL payoff in return for all the lag and pointless scenes I was put through but I didn’t get it. In the end, "Ginger Snaps 2" was like jerking off for a buck twenty and having your “pop” ruined by a Jehovah Witness at the door. Should’ve called this one Ginger Snoozes!
We get some decent K.N.B. EFX Group made gore in the guise of self-inflicted cuts, a severed dog head, ear cutting, a stabbing, a hammer hit on the head and after-the-fact messy victims (one with his head detached from his body). On the bummer side, the kill scenes often took the “shaky cam” or “quick flash” route.
Emily Perkins (Brigitte) was the backbone of this film. Even the crappy dialogue she had to deliver couldn’t take her down. She came out of this one a big winner, thanks to her shining talent. Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) wasn’t given much to do, but deliver bad lines and cash another check. I felt like I was watching an “acting workshop” when she was on. Tatiana Maslany (Ghost) portrayed her character extremely well...too bad I didn’t like or care for her role. Eric Johnson (Tyler) did what he had to do adequately, but again, his written part was pretty “whatever”.
T & A
I had an issue of "Hustler" and an Olsen Twins DVD sitting on my lap as I was watching this flick...does that count?
Brett Sullivan’s editing experience was an obvious asset to this project. I loved his use of quick frames, his capitalization on sound and his axis on bleak atmosphere. On the downside, the images were, at times, too dark. So bring your flashlight!
I MUCHO dug the aggressive, industrial techno score and that sad eerie song that kicked in, but I could’ve done without the occasional lousy background rock songs.
The only thing that was snapping while I was watching this sequel was me! "Ginger Snaps 2" had all the right ingredients to be a solid genre film: the claustrophobic clinic setting, Brigitte’s imminent transformation and the outside werewolf menace. It’s too bad it didn’t have the skills to bring it all home with gusto. In my opinion, they should’ve kept the WHOLE movie in the clinic and milked that! But that’s just me. Sure, Emily Perkins’ solid performance, the stylish dark visuals, the ass-kicking score and the "don’t sneeze or you’ll miss him" neat werewolf made this sled-ride bearable, but on the whole, this sequel missed my canoe. Let's see…we got a horror film that didn’t deliver the horror, a drama that failed in making me care about its relationships and a dark comedy that was rarely funny. Mmmm…yup…back to "American Werewolf in London" I go!
This flick was shot in Edmonton, Alberta back-to-back with the lame looking prequel entitled "Ginger Snaps Back". The prequel has Brigitte and Ginger battling werewolves in 19th Century Canada. I hate that "past life" shit! Should’ve taken the sequel’s ending and expanded on that for the third entry.
Look for Margot Kidder's niece, Janet Kidder, playing the part of butch-like Alice in the film.