The Horror Honeys: WiHM 2016 ~ Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed

WiHM 2016 ~ Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed

A Guest Monster Honey Review by Sarah

Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed (2004)

Ginger Snaps.... Underworld? Wha?
Sequels are a dangerous territory, especially horror sequels. Yes, some can be a good continuation of the first film’s mythology, but so many others are just weak attempts to replicate the first film’s success. In some cases they can even damage the good that the first film did. So where does 2004’s Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed fall?

In the time since the first film, Brigitte Fitzgerald is living on the run. The monkshood infusion that was believed to be a cure instead merely slows her monthly lycanthropic transformations, and she’s running out of time. To make matters worse there is another werewolf on her trail. She ends up in a rehab facility and is desperate to escape before the cycle of bloodshed begins again.

I’m a little unsure about how to feel about Ginger Snaps II. It has some nice ideas and has the same black humor as the first film, but I just don’t think it holds up as well. I like the rehab setting, blurring the definition of the term “inner demons” for drug addiction and lycanthropy as the monkshood injections are the only thing keeping Brigitte from transforming, but the mixture is also essentially poison and could easily end up killing her. There’s also the weird masturbation therapy scene that does a slightly on the nose sex and death parallel, but does certainly throw you off (also haha hairy palms). Also the confinement of the facility adds a ticking time element; Brigitte could transform and kill everyone, and if the werewolf that’s hunting her tracks her down she’s essentially trapped in one place.

As for that other werewolf, we’re told that he wants to mate with Brigitte, which is a little odd. It feels tacked on, like something they felt like they needed to add to the plot to raise the stakes. Although, if we consider that the monkshood just slows the lycanthropy and doesn’t stop it, could we assume that the werewolf stalking Brigitte is the guy from the first film who Ginger passes the transformation to via sex and got “cured,” and now he’s hunting down Brigitte out of some strange mixture of animal instinct and revenge? It would make for an interesting direct thread from the first film, but it’s possible I’m over-thinking it (I probably am).

Speaking of Ginger, she manages to show up -and be the main image on a few of the posters- despite her very final ending in the first film. She appears as a ghost/vision/hallucination to Brigitte, generally there to give ominous warnings about Brigitte’s transformations and to deliver the occasional sarcastic comment. I’m not really bothered by this, mainly because inexplicable Katherine Isabelle is better than no Katherine Isabelle, and also because there are some great lines in the scenes between the two and the chemistry between the actresses is still strong. However they also just stop after a certain point, making them feel not entirely relevant.

The ghosts of Goth Girls past
One thing we have seen time and time and time and again in horror is the creepy child character. Kids are creepy, no arguments there. However, usually they’re just creepy for the sake of it; they can see the ghost, they give creepy warnings, and they can be really annoying. Here we have a pre-cloning Tatiana Maslany as Ghost, a child being housed in the medical facility while her grandmother recovers after a house fire. She creeps around and tries to help Brigitte, bringing a nice element of surrogate sisterhood for Brigitte that she’s been missing since Ginger’s death. However she’s also quite unnerving and it’s simply because you can tell this kid is more than a little unhinged. I just like the fact that we have a creepy kid who is creepy because of a reason based in reality than because of possession or something like that.

I wouldn’t normally talk about a film’s ending in a review, but there is something with this one I feel needs to be brought up.  I won’t say what it is specifically, but I will say that if this were a stand-alone film, I would be applauding the ending for its darkness and bravado. However as a continuation of Ginger Snaps and particularly of Brigitte’s story it feels a little sudden and a bit of a letdown, and in that context it didn’t entirely work.

That being said, there are still things to enjoy here. The body horror and effects are still great, although the final werewolf transformation looks a lot more conventional this time around. Emily Perkins also does a great job as Brigitte, showing us an old for her age, weary, but still determined individual.
Not gonna lie... one of the best lines in the film.
The verdict: Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed isn’t a bad movie, but it’s also not a great one. There are certainly more pointless, cynical cash-grab sequels out there, but I’m not sure this story as it is needed to be told. With a bit more development maybe it could have been interesting, but as it is it just feels half baked - 2 and a half dubious syringes out of 5.