Ginger Snaps Back review by The Grim Ringler

Ginger Snaps Back (that’s Ginger Snaps 3 for you laymen)

Coming from a fan of this series, let this dead horse die. Since the first film the writing has been getting progressively worse with each successive film and now that they are on to number three, a prequel, the writing is just, well, bad. The hell of it is that there is a good idea here; it’s just that the writing ruins things. As do some logical problems. The idea of taking this series back to the origin of the curse that strikes the girls, to a frontier fort on the edge of uncharted territory and near the heart of a werewolf nest, is great. It takes a known story with known characters and spins it into a new direction. But the trouble comes in the writing, which is so bad that it makes this third entry all but unwatchable.

The story for GS3 finds two sisters lost within the thick of deep, dark woods, having lost their family on the way to a settlement. They come upon first a Native American woman who gives the girls a grim prediction about their future together and when the two sisters hear a wolf howling in the woods and lose their horse in the bargain, they begin to feel suddenly as if they are in the mouth of a great beast. Just as the howling is getting louder the sisters are captured by a Native American tracker who takes the girls, one of them having been caught in an animal trap, to an isolated outpost. The outpost is all but a ghost ship, most of the men who’d been assigned to the outpost off on a recon mission to find new supplies for the foundering remainders. There is a fear about the place as well and talk of things in the woods that are holding the outpost at bay but the sisters, looked upon wearily when they arrive, are kept in the dark about what is happening. The tension in the fort is obvious to the girls upon their arrival and it only deepens when they settle in until they can decide what they shall do, now that they are on the edge of nowhere with no place to turn. Fate deals the sisters a nasty hand though as one of them, while up late at night wandering the darkened corridors of the fort, happens upon what she believes is a young boy locked in a room on his own. It turns out that what she mistakes as a boy though is a werewolf and when she opens the door to its room and investigates the wolf boy bites her and escapes into the dark. Bitten, the girl is weak and bleeding badly, and can feel within her, the stirrings of a change. Outside of the fort there comes the sound of howling and suddenly the wolves attack. Things get bleaker yet as the bitten sister begins changing, and, after the mysterious murder of a man in the fort; the sisters are forced out into the open and into the world of the wolves. But as the one begins to feel the power of her curse, the other begins to feel the fear of the settlement and the dark suspicion that she may lose her sister forever. And when she is told by the Native American scout who found them earlier that she will kill her sister, a sick certainty becomes reality – this will not end well for the sisters. Or anyone else.

The premise here is a solid one, as I stated above – take these two characters of Brigitte and Ginger, and look at their relationship and their world in a new light. The idea of seeing where the curse originated is very interesting and this entry does fit well with the dark tone of the series. But the problems come early and often. It was hard for me to get past the idea that Ginger just doesn’t seem like a name that you’d have in this time period, which makes this film feel less substantial. As does the fact that the characters have the same names as the other films. I can see why, to connect all three films, but it creates as weird and silly timeline and frankly takes the power of this film away. It is much more powerful if 1. the roles of the sisters had been reversed (B in power instead of Ginger) and 2. if the girls had been just random sisters who, because of their bond and love for one another, spread the curse further. By forcing the film to use the same characters as the previous films it makes for an odd continuity. The fact that the film is as much fairy tale as horror story helps this weakness but the filmmakers never play with that aspect. They present elements of a fairy tale – sisters lost in the forest, wolves, secrets, a curse – but then throw in a pseudo-reality that is there to make you feel this is part of the greater mythos of the series. The beauty of the second film was that it too was played as a fairy tale and it worked as one. And it was such a twist at the end, that it gave the series a darker feel. And while the ending of that film was a shock, it was a good shock. Here, while I liked the ending quite a bit, the rest of the film is too muddled.

The acting is fair, the two actresses having their characters and their connection down very well now, but they are given nothing new to work with. These are two good young actresses who are stuck with the same roles they have played now for three films, with nothing new but a change of period and wardrobe to show for it. To a degree, this is an insult to two women who have stuck by this series in good faith and never got to see their characters grow much. The direction is passable, the director taking the approach at times of making this world like that of a Hammer Film, the angles skewed, the ground fogged, the menace kept in the dark until late in the film. But the director takes no risks and adds nothing new. The direction is, to be honest, rote. But the real problem here is with the writing, which is just lazy and uninspired. Listening to the dialogue in the film is like eating dry poop and goes down just as easy. There were points were I was just appalled at how ridiculous the things the characters were saying were. There is a ghost of a good idea here that much is plain, but its never mined. Instead they go over the well-worn material from the first two films – two sisters who are outsiders and who are cursed as much by their love for one another as by the wolf bite.

The effects are well done but, as with the last film, they aren’t utilized that well. And sadly, the wolves haven’t evolved that well either, still looking rather weak when seen for more than an instant.

I adore the first two Ginger Snaps films and am crushed that this third entry cannot live up to even the not that great second entry. It’s a shame as the characters and the nature of the story is such that each film could have been another look at this world, at these sisters, and at the curse of love and a wolf’s bite. What made the first film so brilliant was its originality and its love for the characters. Sadly, by the time we reach the third film the characters are no more than puppets, whores, to a master who doesn’t respect them enough to let them grow but will hopefully let them go.


5 out of 10 Jackasses
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