The Ginger Snaps trilogy concludes with a prequel, set nearly 200 years in the past. The Fitzgerald sisters, Ginger and Brigitte, are still the protagonists. Ginger Snaps Back sees the girls facing a similar situation to that of the first film; Ginger is bitten and slowly begins to turn as Brigitte tries to save her (though this time she is bereft of modern science). As the Indian hunter in the camp says, ‘It is believed amongst our people that those who lived, always live,’ thus we see the first instance of a history that is doomed to repeat itself. Or as the cylons say, ‘All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.’
The setting for the film is the Canadian wilderness of 1815, at a fort owned by the Northern Legion Trading Company (which I’m pretty sure was based heavily off the real life (and still operating) Hudson’s Bay Company). Ginger and Brigitte wander in from the woods one day, telling the lightly manned fort that their parents, whom they were traveling with, drowned (though the audience is led to believe that that isn’t true).
The girls’ arrival is surprising to the men of the fort, as they have been under siege from werewolves for some time, a siege which the reverend Gilbert believes is divine retribution for the captain’s taking of a ‘savage’ wife. Obviously, Gilbert is none-to-happy when the two hot chicks show up at the door, cause there’s no way they can be up to any good.
Religion doesn’t really play a role in the story. It’s hard to tell why the reverend is even there, as no one seems to like him or care about anything he says. A lot of his lines ended up in the official trailer for the movie, which makes me think his primary function in the movie is providing ominous quotes.
Ginger is bit by the son of the fort’s captain, who is being kept in hiding so the others won’t kill him (as they do to all infected parties). The shared secret of his son’s, and Brigitte’s sister’s infections make the fort’s captain something of an ally. Ginger’s transformation is different than in the first movie. It’s no longer the parallel to sexual awakening, but more of a painful experience that makes you homicidal over time.
There’s an element of destiny/fate/prophesy thrown into this film. The girls are referred to as, ‘the red and the black,’ and their actions are said to have far flung ramifications. This ties the movie into the other two, but it also adds a bit of mysticism to a series that made a point of avoiding it. I’m always suspicious of ‘prophesies’ in movies, it’s usually just a lazy writer’s trick to make it seem like there’s a deeper mythology than there actually is.
The setting for the movie is great, an isolated rickety wooden fort deep in the woods is perfectly appropriate for a werewolf film. While there seems to be a lot of attention paid to the visuals (which look great), the movie still isn’t altogether convincingly period. The girls, though lacking the slangy dialogue of the first two films, are still very modern in baring.
The first two movies in the series made use of the werewolf transformation as a metaphor. That aspect is completely gone from this third entry, leaving a straight forward period horror film with werewolves; but the likeable leads and unique setting make it a good film over all.