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Overall Rating
3.83

Awesome42.11%
Worth A Look: 27.63%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad: 10.53%
Total Crap: 9.21%

5 reviews, 46 user ratings


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Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed
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by Mel Valentin

"A noticeable step down from its predecessor, but still worth a view."
4 stars

If "Ginger Snaps" was equal parts "An American Werewolf in London" and "Heathers," the sequel, "Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed," is part "An American Werewolf in London," part "Girl, Interrupted," and part "The Bad Seed." The mix of genres, styles and themes, alas, is not nearly as successful as its predecessor: the script tosses around a lot of half-formed, half-digest (sorry, couldn’t resist) ideas, but those ideas are passed over quickly in the interest of holding viewer interest and pushing the storyline toward the next complication or reversal. "Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed" also fails to provide the same (or a similar) level of intelligent wit or black humor found in its predecessor. That and a third-act plot reversal that’s simultaneously gratuitous and depressingly bleak means that "Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed" will be seen once, and only once, by fans of the first film and its central characters.

In Unleashed, Emily Perkins returns as Brigitte. At the end of Ginger Snaps, Brigitte allowed herself to be infected with the werewolf curse in order to test the hypothetical cure, monkshood (or wolfsbane) on herself. It succeeded, but as she soon discovers, monkshood only delays the inevitable and irreversible transformation into a werewolf. Another werewolf, whose procreative instincts lead it to Brigitte, complicates Brigitte’s desperate search for a permanent cure. After a bloody werewolf attack that leaves an unfortunate admirer (and potential romantic rival) dead, Brigitte awakens institutionalized, her daily dose of monkshood confused for drug addiction. There she encounters the usual assortment of clueless counselors, suicidally depressed young women, lecherous hospital staff, and the eccentric, obviously troubled Ghost (Tatiana Maslany), who serves as guide/confidante/sister stand-in/Greek chorus.

Brigitte must find a way to obtain the monkshood on a daily basis and escape before the werewolf attacks again or the werewolf transformation occurs, spelling the doom of everyone around her. For the monkshood, she has to contend with the amoral Tyler (Eric Johnson, Clark Kent's competition for Lana's affections on Smallville). Brigitte also has to contend with institutional antagonism, as represented by the well meaning, but oddly insincere Alice (Janet Kidder). Brigitte’s complications don’t end there. She has to contend with the amorous werewolf stalking her, Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) who appears to Brigitte as a recurring hallucination and who acts as conscience and trickster, and a fourth, hidden antagonist that isn't revealed until the final plot turn/reversal.

Therein lies Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed’s primary weakness: no clear, central antagonist. A second weakness is tied to the abrupt changes in setting, moving from Brigitte initially alone, then the mental institution, but almost as quickly (with little character development), the narrative leaves the institution setting behind for a minimalist two and three character setting. A third problem comes from the changing werewolf mythology evident : In the Ginger Snaps universe, transformation into a werewolf appears to be irreversible. In the first film, we see Ginger turn only once; in the second film, Brigitte’s efforts are tied to preventing or delaying the transformation. In both films, transformation means the complete loss of personality, contrary to the usual werewolf mythology, where the change is temporary (and tied to the lunar cycle). Last, the writer and director, Megan Martin and Brett Sullivan, include a final, unsatisfying reversal. The too-clever-for-itself denouement, however, forces the filmmakers into a literal dead end.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed does, however, benefit from tighter pacing (if less humor), better staging of the action scenes than those found in its predecessor, and an above-average share of shock cuts and gore (most of it presented almost subliminally, through MTV-style rapid editing). The opening credits sequence obviously owes its lineage (and influence) to videos made by and for Nine Inch Nails. The credits also repeat dialogue from the first film, primarily to refresh viewers’ memories of earlier events. Performances wise, doubts as to Emily Perkins could carry an entire film without Katherine Isabelle to offset her introverted, limited performance, were allayed within the first few minutes of Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed.

As sequels go, Martin and Sullivan deserve credit for ambitiously taking the storyline in a different direction with an entirely new scenario, even if the end result leaves no room for a subsequent sequel (a good thing, some might suggest) and leaves the central character in a literal dead end. After two films, Brigitte (and the audience) deserved better. The producers behind the "Ginger Snaps" series seem to have acknowledged this problem, avoiding it altogether by making the next film a prequel ("Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning," set in the 19th century at a trading post in the Canadian wilderness).

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8643&reviewer=402
originally posted: 09/04/05 16:00:59
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Horror Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Horror Festival series, click here.
For more in the Direct To Video Sequels series, click here.

User Comments

7/21/09 Jarrod Is good till the end ginger should have been in it more. 2 stars
11/11/07 little cody a strong sequel to the original flim, a kickbutt werewolf flick. 4 stars
8/13/06 Dude-a-Tollah Better than the first... grabs your b%##$ and doesn't let go 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist How many f#*%ing times must I tell you, CAMPY CRAP;not even medieocre!!!! 1 stars
6/20/06 cody a strong follow up to lst one , it like a girl interuppted meets the howling, good movie 4 stars
3/24/06 Dethbyhashi Even Better than the Original!!!! 5 stars
9/19/05 veronica my favorite movie is ginger snaps my 2'nd is gs 2 5 stars
8/20/05 ES Chris is so right, Canadian cinema is a joke & this movie was not nearly as good as #1 2 stars
7/03/05 Brigget All 3 of them ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK Nowhere near the triumph of the first film... but not the usual shit-sequel fare. 4 stars
12/06/04 K. Sear Unneccesary attempt to cash in on the prior films cult status. 1 stars
10/11/04 Melissa MacIntosh Ginger snaps 2 and 3 both suck. 1 stars
9/27/04 Liam MacGannon It was a great flick, I liked Bridgette 5 stars
7/30/04 Josh Standlee Very sweet with some really cute babes! By "sweet" I mean scary! 5 stars
7/15/04 Sean More of a drama then a horror flick 5 stars
7/10/04 MorallySound A great creepy film. Far better then the original. 5 stars
6/17/04 Bruce Campbell Kicked Major Ass - BALLSY 5 stars
6/10/04 Elizabeth It was good, and i think if you watch both ginger snaps, and ginder snaps 2 back to back in 4 stars
5/02/04 jessie loved it 5 stars
5/01/04 ken good 4 stars
4/25/04 Lisa Stratton This is what I choose for comment I'll say it is about the beauty of actor Emily Perkins 4 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt I didn't want it to end. Bring on another sequel! Better than the first! 5 stars
4/14/04 Joseph Barale Awesome sequel with bite. Even better than the first 5 stars
4/04/04 Bridgette CaJones overestimated by zitty fanboys (ahem, Darkofnight), but still pretty decent. 4 stars
3/14/04 Jes I loved every second of it, my second favorite movie.. Ginger Snaps my first! 5 stars
3/12/04 jake DeLi never seen the second but the first was kick ass...i'm looking to see the 2nd and prequel 5 stars
3/02/04 Katie Saw this the first night it came out... AMAZING 5 stars
3/01/04 ashley bevis crap 1 stars
3/01/04 jdogg bad,bad,BAD movie! Pull out your eyes now so you don't accidentally watch this someday!! 1 stars
2/27/04 fairy psycho kick as bitch movie ;) 5 stars
2/21/04 ScaryDude Wicked, Tense and Gory 5 stars
2/17/04 Chris Elliott Wicked! Wanting the DVD and looking forward to Ginger Snaps Back. 5 stars
2/14/04 mememe bestest movie :) 5 stars
2/13/04 mike when is it coming to eastern canada 5 stars
2/13/04 Kai A horrible let down. The first was brilliant, this is just a sad attempt to follow it up. 1 stars
2/12/04 Mike Not as good as the first, I found it more suprising and disturbing then the first. 4 stars
2/11/04 rachel haven't seen it but it looks good 5 stars
2/09/04 Kyle BIZARRO! 3 stars
2/08/04 Mark Almost as good as the first. 5 stars
2/05/04 Ghost Is it gonna come out in the boston area anytime? 5 stars
2/05/04 Jenn not as good as the first 4 stars
2/03/04 Terry C "Sucked ass"?? How classy! Such eloquence makes one really proud to be an American! 3 stars
2/02/04 Alex Gaines It sucked ass 1 stars
2/02/04 Mark Great sequel in which the flaws do not distract from the movie at all. 5 stars
2/01/04 darkofnight Flawed, yes, but so wonderfully executed, that you just don't care. 5 stars
1/31/04 Vicious Horror with sublty and amosphere, excellent, only from Canada 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  13-Apr-2004 (R)
  DVD: 13-Apr-2004

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