Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)

What I really liked about this movie is it managed to take a clever satirical horror film with a twist and add some lore and depth to it. Whether or not “Ginger Snaps” needed to progress beyond the first movie is open for argument, but this film does manage to add some creative and some times engrossing lore to the whole “ginger snaps” story with a similar tale being told in the past century, and it kept me interested the whole way through until the dynamite conclusion. Two sisters traveling abroad the Canadian country side, Ginger and Bridgette, travel through the forest horseback and get lost. When Bridgette accidentally gets caught in a bear trap, Ginger goes to look for help but they’re discovered by a Native American hunter and taken to a local fortress where they’re taken in by a group of soldiers awaiting orders and supplies.

The problem is the entire forest is littered with werewolves and no one can venture outside the fortress, and there’s a werewolf lose in the camp, and to top things off Ginger has been bitten and is slowly turning and begins craving blood. With the wolf slowly killing people on the inside, and Ginger slowly turning, the shit is about to hit the fan. Now first off let it be known, Katharine Isabelle is still really unbelievably hot despite her faux 19th century get up. She was hot in the first movie, and she’s really hot in this film regardless of the bad hairdo’s she wears here. Not to mention she really does look good in a black hood as shown in the climax and she plays Ginger really well. Ginger is a very interesting and dysfunctional character and often times her confidence and ballsy persona makes for some great material with Ginger who is also pretty bad ass when she slowly turns into the werewolf, and I guarantee it’s basically not the same form we saw in the original film, but pretty close to her earlier forms.

This also does manage to provide some competent direction courtesy of Grant Harvey who gives some brisk camera work and very gloomy settings which help to increase the grim atmosphere and tension all leading up to the gory and surprise climax that pretty much was the saving grace of the entire film. I was very disappointed by this movie. Considering the first film was really well done and didn’t take itself seriously yet still managed to get the job done with horror, this one is basically the opposite of what the first film was in mood, style and story. Why did they feel the need to have a prequel, and why did it need to be set in the 19th century? Who thought that would actually be a good idea? Because this is just basically the same movie as the first film but with changes and a bit more melodrama.

What made the first film so good was because it was modern and had a slick style to it that made it instantly likable, except with this it made no sense whatsoever. Who were these girls? Where were they from? Was Ginger a hooker? It made no sense. Were they kindred spirits, ancestors, what? What are the odds the same thing would happen before the modern story? It was basically all too ridiculous and just brought me out of the narrative. What are the chances there would be two girls named Ginger and Bridgette in the 19th century whom were basically the same as the girls in the modern times?

And I just didn’t buy the two sisters set in the 19th century, and dropping the modern curse words didn’t help increase the mood of old times, it took me out of the narrative completely. And having the supporting characters speaking old time dialect while the sisters spouted modern colloquialisms (Boy, are they’re fucked) was not creative. Aside from that what in god’s name was this movie all about anyway? What was this movie about with the native Americans, and the tension within the camp mounting and everything else from the themes and subtexts, right down to the character emphasis, what was it all leading up to other than the gory finale? Was it supposed to mean anything, and was the whole point of the film simply to show it’s happened before or just to simply market off the Ginger Snaps title?

Because none of it made any reasonable sense from the story right down to the basic characters re-appearing in old times. The movie drones on and one chronicling events and focusing on characters as if its leading to something, but what? The soldier characters were so one-dimensional and nameless that I never cared what happened to them, or if they lived or died, not to mention the native Americans here whom are so stereotypical and one-dimensional and they come with their own racial tension which is also very cliche, from the red skin remarks, right down to the more-intelligent-then-they-look personas of the native Americans, and the two sisters featured so prominently in these stories also have no reason for being focused on. Why are they so important?

Why should we care that they’ve been scattered through time? Not to mention, why is the lesbian and incestuous subtext so strong in the film here? Is the chemistry between the two characters so strong or are they really just lovers as well as sisters? It’s never really answered and just shown to the audience without any logic. The film also really just takes itself way too seriously, from the artsy dream sequences which were utterly ridiculous, right down to the minor and boring sub-plots, I was annoyed that the stick was so evident up the screenwriters’ butts. Where’s the satire? The whole point of “Ginger Snaps” was showing lycanthropy and Ginger’s affliction with it as a symbol of her blossoming in to womanhood and her appearance of her period’s, it was an allegory for adolescence, but here, there are no themes for that, and there’s really nothing to the story.

The film also takes these weird lapses in werewolf lore that took me out of the story. Since when do arrows kill a werewolf? And if the arrows were silver tipped, unless you were a skilled archer and gravity didn’t exist, wouldn’t it be too heavy to shoot? Since when do ancient bullets (made of lead) kill a werewolf? And if they had silver bullets how could they know to acquire them if they didn’t believe the creatures were werewolves to begin with? Regardless, it was all just a basic disappointment. I was disappointed to say the least with this period prequel without a point and characters whom appear in this time without an explanation, we can care nothing for. In spite of its flaws though, the third “Ginger Snaps” does manage to pack a punch with great acting, good direction and interesting main characters that continue to retain my fascination.