GINGER SNAPS 2: UNLEASHEDKILLER WEREWOLF MAN IS COMING.. AND HE'S HORNY
March 21, 2004
NOTE: Will not be released in the US
After the major disappointment that was the Dawn of the Dead remake, I felt the need to get some honest to God, 100% pure indie horror back in my system. Lo and behold, the San Francisco Horror fest had exactly what I needed.
Last night was the US Premiere of Ginger Snaps II, and unfortunately the only theatrical showing before it makes its way to DVD. Sadly, this is one film that could definitely benefit from a theatrical run, but nevertheless you’re in for an extremely tasty treat when this hits your local video store on April 13th.
Ginger Snaps II picks up a few years after the ending of the first film. Brigitte (Emily Perkins) is now living on her own, and having been infected by her sister’s blood, has been doing her best to stay her transformation with a daily regimen of liquid Monkshood (Wolfsbane) injections and excess body hair removal. Further trying to determine the extent of her transformation, she dabbles in self mutilation - timing the lengths the cuts on her arms stay around before her lycanthropic healing factor kicks in. It doesn’t help that the ghost/memory of her sultry sister Ginger is haunting her waking hours, and that there’s another werewolf on the prowl, looking to mate with her.
To make a long story short, Brigitte ends up in a group home/rehab center/hospital where, due to the cuts and marks on her arms and her less than prim and proper physical appearance, is forced to live until she can kick her habits…whatever they may be. She meets an oddly intelligent little girl named Ghost who happens to have an equally odd interest in horror comics, and assumes there’s more to Brigitte than meets the eye. But with Brigitte locked up, away from her Wolfsbane, and the prowling wolf making its way to the hospital, one can safely say it’s only a matter of time before hell is unleashed.
Ginger Snaps II is a much darker film than the first, but equally as funny. Interesting is the change in environment from the ultra clean, sanitized suburbs to the grimy hospital, and outlying locations. As this story it all Brigitte’s, her character is much more fleshed out, and becomes far more interesting than Ginger ever was. Emily Perkins turns in an excellent performance, emoting much of Brigitte’s inner conflict and terror through only her intense eyes and facial expressions. Tatiana Maslany is equally wonderful in the character of Ghost, ensuring maximum believability, both through in moments of quirky hilarity and those of profound dread. Also of note are the amazing gore and creature effects by Kurtzman, Nicotero, and Berger (KNB. EFX). The werewolf is wisely confined to the shadows for the most of the film, but the actual wound and transformation effects are nothing less than stunning.
Ginger Snaps II is easily my favourite horror movie of the year. In a time where glossy Hollywood horror remakes take center stage, it’s refreshing to see that true indie horror efforts aren’t a thing of the past. Like the first installment, Ginger Snaps II is a wonderful surprise for the thinking horror fan. Quite possibly better than the first film, I can’t recommend Ginger Snaps II enough.
If you are a fan of Ginger Snaps, this one will astound you because even though the main characters are in it, nothing about it is the same. This is a uniquely thrilling stand-alone “sequel” with a more mature vibe. You remember Bridgette as the shy one, the one who clung to her sister like life support. This movie portrays her as brave, aware, and deathly afraid of her latent power. Ironically, the moment she feels truly vulnerable is when her werewolf strength bubbles up. This is exactly what she struggles throughout the entire movie to restrain. This is also when the omnipresent spirit of her big sister Ginger (uber cutie Katharine Isabelle) pops up from the shadows to proffer good advice, or what Brigette _hoped would be good advice. Ginger comes around just to tease her a little in the sardonic tone we loved in the first installment, mocking her sister’s judgment and describing how difficult it is to resist temptation. So just give in a little Bridgette. How appropriate to tell that to a teenager who’s being sexually stalked by a skanky hospital orderly.
Another pain-in-the-ass distraction (to the characters involved, not the audience) is, as Chris mentioned, the imaginative and nosy Ghost. Excruciating abdominal twists, nausea and frustration are not so easily denied when you have a pesky pre-teen following your every move like some Nancy Drew wannabe. But you’ll be surprised when you find yourself warming up to this character, who is craftily inserted into almost every scene, and thereby becomes a pseudo sidekick. She’s a lonely outcast who Brigette wins over by “rescuing” her from a throbbing throe of insults from the other patients. You’ll catch on to Ghost’s habits, her sordid childhood, her reasoning towards harboring Brigette, and her own psychotic fairytale land of “moral justice.”
The story is brilliant, witty, and doesn’t exclude the GS newbies. We feel the tension; the raw desire of a werewolf and of human intentions presented in flash-cut snippets and painfully drawn out ogling. Not just the storyline, but this has been the best editing, cinematography, acting and direction I’ve seen in quite a while! I mean, come on, even the three consecutive vintage glass “chip” bowls were perfect! The KNB special effects team created gory and inventive deaths, utilizing plastic sheeting to press corpses and bodies against. Luckily, we are on the other side of the sheeting, but get to witness every last scream and artery burst.
Thank you SF Indie Horror Fest coordinators and GS cast and crew. Brilliant job! I can’t wait for Ginger Snaps 3!!