Angry Robot

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed

Two picks up shortly after One ended. Ginger, dead, is now only a sort of guardian devil for her sister Bridgitte, who is busy injecting herself with wolfsbane – which turns out not to cure lycanthropy but only to postpone the transformation – while trying to avoid a fully-formed werewolf which follows her from town to town, looking to mate. When she is thrown into a group home to treat her ‘addiction’, she can postpone no longer. She befriends the resourceful 13-year-old Ghost, but before long the beast that has been stalking her has tracked her down. [/half-assed plot summary paragraph]

GS2 is a touch of a disappointment. It takes the franchise in a different and not entirely welcome direction, foregoing teen wisecracking and socializing and werewolves-as-metaphor in favour of junkie brooding with the odd wolf attack thrown in. Also, the monster has been divorced from the protagonist. In GS, it was Ginger herself who is the source of dread; in GS2 Bridgitte is mostly fine, and it’s the other, nasty fully transformed wolf who is intended to make us afraid. That’s not quite as compelling; and indeed in most uses the werewolf myth is about personal transformation and loss of control, about giving one’s self over to the unconscious beast; so to remove this is to go against the grain and turn the story into the traditional “I hope/kinda don’t hope that the girls stay away from the unspeakable monster” horror narrative. What’s more, ball-dropping occurs in respect to the metaphorical quality of the franchise. If there’s a metaphor in GS2 it’s addiction, but it’s not fleshed out in any meaningful way, which is a disappointment after GS so aptly matched wolves to menstruation.

On the flip side, the narrative moves along competently and the characters are better than most genre stereotypes. And, in the depressing sub-genre of horror franchise sequels, this is easily in the upper echelon. If the Canadian film industry – fuckit, the US too – could crank out flicks like this with regularity I’d rent at least one a week, and I’d see quite a few in the cinema to boot. Here’s looking forward to the simultaneously-filmed period-piece threequel, Ginger Snaps Back, due out in April.