Ginger Snaps Back (2004)
Director: Grant Harvey
Nathaniel Arcand/The Hunter
In this prequel to Ginger Snaps 1 and 2, we find the Fitzgerald sisters (Perkins and Isabelle) hitting a remote trading outpost in 19th century Canada. Their stay winds up being a lousy one due to the “loony” God-fearing men who populate the fort, an odd wolf-boy in the mix and a pack of werewolves prowling about, outside the area, with human snacking on the fritz. Should’ve sought out a Holiday Inn, gals! Talk about BAD service!
"Ginger Snaps" is a film that I love more and more after each sit-down. "Ginger Snaps 2" is an odd opus that I didn’t care for on my first watch, but that I’ll probably poke at again one day. And now here’s "Ginger Snaps 3" clawing at our doorsteps, yearning to please our plasma-drenched “Kibbles 'n Bits”-loving asses! Should I hug this bitch or neuter it?
To be honest, I was hesitant about this new entry from the get-go since it played the prequel game. I felt like the Ginger Snaps franchise had at least one more straight sequel in its belly before taking the “we’re out of ideas, let's go back in time” route, but that’s just silly me talking. Now, I’ll give the prequel this: it was incredibly well shot, with swooping camera movements galore, striking cinematography and an almost poetic tone that rubbed my T-Bone the right way. Harvey truly capitalized on his snowy and desolate surroundings, giving the flick a mucho gorgeous, yet spooky, feel. The lead actresses were also in fine form with both Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle turning in strong shows, especially when taking into account that they didn’t have much meat to chew on, screenplay-wise. In addition, the gore was ample enough while the werewolf special effects were mostly slick in execution and design. Lastly, I dug the slim “Werewolf” history lesson that the flick provided and dug the “leech” technique. Nice touch!
That said, I can’t say that I gave much of a flying milk-fudge about the substance at hand. The touching bond that the sisters shared so deeply in the original was handled on a superficial level here. You can blurt out “Together Forever” one billion times, but if I don’t feel it...it won’t mean diddly-squat. The dames’ tie simply didn’t affect me like it did in the first film. Furthermore, the lack of biting bleak humor, which was so proudly displayed in the first two pictures, was painfully lacking here. The closest we got to that jive was Ginger uttering "These people are fucked" in a 19th century setting. That was that on that...in terms of cleverness. Whoop-deedoo! Then, we had the chain of events which took their sweet “dead pony” time to get to the freaking point. I usually don’t mind a slow pace, but since this prequel was populated with a slew of one dimensional twats (yup, I wanted to axe that preacher and that rapist tough guy), I was looking forward to parting way with these lads ASAP via werewolf ripping them apart. It took too long to happen. Tag to all that, a tacky wolf-boy (in tacky wolf mask) subplot, a heavy spread of Indian mumbo-jumbo that made me groan (just not my thing) and a shameful lack of emphasis on one of the sisters’ transformations (the dramatic possibilities were so overlooked here) and you get a “ho hum” sequel, prequel, Gretel or whatever you want to call it.
On the whole, I was half/half with "Ginger Snaps 3"! It was watchable, but I can’t say that there was much within it that truly stood out for me. I hardly felt any tension or anticipation throughout and that’s a no-no. Should’ve called this one...Ginger Naps!
The flick wasn’t overly graphic, but was wet enough! We get a damaged ankle, an arrow in the eye, a head shot, a stabbing, an arrow in the wrist, a hatchet in the head, a wolf’s head impaled on a spike, mangled aftermath bodies, a slit throat, a "don’t blink" wolf chomping on flesh and more!
Emily Perkins’ (Brigitte) every emotional thought could be perceived through her big expressive eyes. She gave another vulnerable and honest performance. I love this cutie! Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) did fine with what she was given to do. I adored her dark edge! Nathaniel Arcand (The Hunter) was effective as the strong/silent type Indian who whoops ass when ass needs to be whooped.
T & A
Sadly, Ginger didn’t snap her bra strap off for us, but the ladies do get a fit Nathaniel Arcand (The Hunter) doing the shirtless dew.
Harvey painted an arresting picture, capturing the snow-filled environment perfectly while using quick cuts quite successfully and serving up kool “fast motion” scene transitions. Great coating! Too bad the script didn’t match it.
Was there even a score in here? I hardly picked it up.
This amalgam of “Little House on the Prairie” and “Ginger Snaps” did little to stimulate the wolf-man in my Khakis. Sure, it was pleasant to the eye, the lead chickadees were solid as per usual, some of the lupine stuff hit pay-dirt and hearing actor David La Haye uttering a subtle “tabarnac” (French Quebec swear word…don’t ask) was quite funny to me, but unfortunately, the story left me underwhelmed. Moreover, it didn’t help matters that the key relationships failed to move me in any way, therefore lessening my emotional involvement in this tale. Result: I saw it, I grooved on some of it and once the credits rolled...I forgot all about it. THANK YOU FOR COMING! NEXT IN LINE PLEASE!
Last I heard, the video and DVD were coming out on September 14, 2004.
The flick was shot In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, about 2 weeks after Part 2 wrapped.
Director Grant Harvey was second unit director on the original Ginger Snaps.
Thanks to Mathieu for helping me catch this film! You da man!