Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed
AKA: Ginger Snaps II
AKA: Ginger Snaps: Unleashed
Immediately following the events of Ginger Snaps, Ginger’s younger sister Brigitte has since been infected with the same malady that affected her sister. To combat this, she’s been injecting herself with Wolfsbane. But, as the hallucinatory images of her sister keep pointing out, while the serum may be staving off her transformation, the Wolfsbane is not only NOT a cure for lycanthropy, but also a poison that is slowly killing her. But Brigitte doesn’t heed her inner warning system, and her odd behavior lands her in a rehab facility when she ends up being mistaken for an addict. With her drug of choice now denied to her, Brigitte starts to slowly transform as the full moon draws closer. But ‘wolfing-out’ ends up being the least of her concerns, because not only does she have to deal with the inevitable moral dilemma of very likely wanting to rip someone’s throat out very soon, but she’s also forced to contend with annoying hospital staff, even more annoying patients, and a young quirky girl who’s a little too into comic books. Plus, there’s the added dilemma of there also being another werewolf out there who happens to be tracking her with very…dubious intent.
To be fair though, don’t most werewolves in horror movies have dubious intent?
Horror franchises, especially short ones like Ginger Snaps, aren’t exactly known for having the best track record when it comes to sequels. They either end up being so “samey” that they end up being predictable, or they end up being so different that they may as well not be connected to the original film in the first place (I’m looking at you, Blair Witch: Book of Shadows). In short, they’re usually not very good. But Ginger Snaps II manages to buck that trend by continuing the story from the first film and not actually sucking while doing so. For that alone, the filmmakers should get some kind of award. Not some kind of coveted one, mind you, cause, you know, it’s still not as good as the first and it has its fair share of issues. But at the very least they should get something metal and shiny that’s above the level of a participation ribbon.
The biggest difference between the first and second films, and likely the biggest thing that’ll determine your level of enjoyment, is the drastic tonal shift. Whereas the first film told a rather dark tale, most of the darker elements were kinda smoothed out with some well implemented dark humor to go along with it. Ginger Snaps II really forgoes all that and just focuses mostly on telling its creepy story. And I say “mostly” because while there is comedy, the film deemed fit to only pick out one minor side character and relegate her as the “comic relief”. Which could work, but said character only shows up in two scenes and the attempts at comedy come across as more horribly awkward or cheesy, rather than darkly relevant. So not only does it not match up with the comedy from the first film, but it’s also so sparse that both attempts stand out like a sore thumb, to the point where it makes you wonder why they even bothered to put it in the movie in the first place.
This is the only chuckle the movie got out of me.
Another knock against the film is that, though the base story is nice and solid, there were still a lot of smaller plot elements that I kept getting distracted by. Just stupid little story stuff that made me roll my eyes because it felt too cliche, or really toyed with my suspension of disbelief (which is saying something, considering this is a werewolf movie.) Like, I know this is a horror film and everything, and I admittedly don’t know how laws in Canada work, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just lock people up in clinics, addict to not, without at least having some kind of hearing regarding the matter or something. And of course, because this is a horror movie, this ends up being a super sketchy clinic, so all the administrators are either corrupt, a-holes, incompetent, or some unholy combination of all three. Some of the patients at the clinic actually end up being pretty tame for a movie like this, except for Ghost, the young girl who is inexplicably living in the clinic, just because her grandmother happens to be a patient in the trauma unit. And by “living there” I mean she’s wandering around and harassing patients at all times of the day. There’s no suggestion that she’s going to school, or that she has any other family or even a social worker. She’s just there, and is essentially given free reign of the place, and the movie acts like that’s a totally normal thing that nobody should question. And that’s not even touching on the absurdity of Brigitte and Ghost escaping the facility via air duct (which isn’t a thing no matter how much movies want you to think it is), or that, for some reason, the clinic has a dog. Not like a therapy dog or some shit either, just…A dog. That they keep chained up outside. A dog whose sole purpose for existing is, as far as I can tell, to show that the wolf stalking Brigitte is getting closer (which we already knew), and maybe to give Ghost something else to focus her attention on, beyond annoying the patients.
So basically there’s nothing too major wrong with the movie, just a lot of minor things that might not bother others, but seem designed to unnecessarily annoy the hell out of me.
But beyond those quibbles (which probably sound worse than I’ve made them out to be), Ginger Snaps II is actually pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. The story is good, the acting is good (Emily Perkins is great, as expected), the atmosphere is strong, and the effects are decent. They even surprised me by keeping the whole ‘werewolf as metaphor’ thing going from the last film, except instead of puberty they’ve now also linked it to addiction. Cool. I like that they managed to stay so consistent. It’s just a lot of little decisions they made that made my eye twitch, and the lack of decent humor, that keep it below the same level as the original in my book. But it’s still an entertaining horror movie that ended up being better than I was expecting, so I’ll consider that a win, even if the movie occasionally makes me want to smack the writers for some of their choices regarding plot devices.
Ginger Snaps II is available on a variety of streaming services.
Ginger Snaps II is also available on DVD.
2 thoughts on “Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed (2004)”
Hey I liked this one too!
That’s so funny about the air duct. I guess movie people think no one’s ever seen inside one of those things. And even if maybe someone hasn’t, here’s a tip: screws and spiders.
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Yes! And the dirt! So much dirt! Unless they’re brand-spanking new, those things are filthy. So even if they were big enough for the average adult, at the very least everyone crawling out of one should be covered in a 3 inch layer of dust bunnies.
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