DVD Review: Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed

After infecting herself with the werewolf virus and killing her sister, Brigitte seems to have fallen into depression.  She now lives alone in a motel room, and appears to all the world a drug addict.  She constantly injects drugs, has tracks of cut marks on her arms, and is highly irritable. So it isn’t long before she’s committed into a rehab clinic.




Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 7.59.32 AMOf course, she’s not really addicted to drugs.  She’s injecting monkshood, which we once thought was a cure, but actually only slows the transformation.  She cuts her self to measure her healing time (as werewolves are great recuperators), and she isolates herself lest she put anyone else in danger.

Her dead sister Ginger appears in the film as a hallucinatory manifestation of Brigitte’s self doubt, popping in on occasion to tell her that her attempts to forestall the transformation are futile.  I’m not sure why she cast her sister as the personification of hopelessness, perhaps because she was unable to help her, Ginger is now a symbol of failure to Brigitte.

The first Ginger Snaps movie used the werewolf transformation as a metaphor for puberty, though it was a subtle metaphor mostly used for jokes.  Ginger Snaps 2 re-purposes the metaphor for addiction, though it’s much blunter this time around.  Everything lines up a little too well, the drugs, the pain, the delusions, even the literal ‘wolf at the gate,’ that’s waiting for her.  It feels like they Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 7.59.02 AMbuilt the narrative around the metaphor.  Compare that to the first movie, when Ginger started growing wolf hair out of a wound on her shoulder, and Brigitte asked the school nurse about ‘hair that wasn’t there before.’  There was a parallel to puberty, but it was presented at an odd angle, and used for humor.  Not like, ‘hey, how can we work cutting into this?’

Brigitte once again seeks the help of a drug dealer, as she did in the first film when seeking a cure.  This time it’s Tyler, the rehab clinic orderly who trades drugs for sexual favors.  Brigitte doesn’t really go for that, so she and Tyler don’t have the affinity she did with Sam in the first movie.  Tyler’s character is hard to pin down, he’s not evil, per se, just selfish.  But that being the case, his actions at the end of the movie, when he runs off to help Brigitte, are hard to reconcile.

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 7.59.20 AMThe other big addition to the cast is Ghost, a ten or so year old girl living at the rehab clinic / long-term care facility while her grandmother recovers from severe burns.  She quickly deduces Brigitte’s condition, and offers to help her.  Ghost keeps reading a comic book about werewolves and the dark, powerful woman who controls them.  The woman seems to be a big influence on her, as she seeks to emulate her.  I’m not sure I totally buy her character.  I can believe her being manipulative, but the casual homicidal mania just seems a little out of place.

Ginger Snaps was set in a nice suburban area, which created a good foil for the horror elements.  Ginger Snaps 2 is a dark story in a dark setting.  Not bad, but not as fun as the first.