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Set in 19th Century Canada, Brigette and her sister Ginger take refuge in a Traders' Fort which later becomes under siege by some savage werewolves. And an enigmatic Indian hunter decides to help the girls, but one of the girls has been bitten by a werewolf. Brigitte and Ginger may have no one to turn to but themselves. Written by
The movie states it takes place in 1815. All of the rifles/muskets used in the movie are percussion locks, not flintlocks. The percussion cap was invented in the early 1820's. Percussion style rifles did not start becoming prevalent until the 1840's. In fact many of the "Northwest trading companies" produced flintlock trade guns well into the late 1880's. See more »
The Indians say the curse began in the time of the Ancients and was passed down through the blood of generations. There are legends of the Wendigo and the coming of the Red and the Black. Legends of the Day of Reckoning, when Death would consume the land, and good would face evil; of the day the curse would be broken forever - or grow stronger, and live on to plague generations to come. But ours was a story of survival; of two sisters bound by blood. A bond that would not be broken...
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Few Scares; A sad creative mess; Out of its depth.
I'm saddened. I really wanted to like this movie as I am the biggest fan of the original Ginger Snaps; and its leads, Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins for their work in the original, and Perkins even more so for almost single-handedly saving "Ginger Snaps: Unleashed." Alas, I am afraid that this series is like the original Highlander: "There can only be one."
You know you're in for a long ride from the very beginning. It breaks a rule of cinema narration that no scriptwriter was dumb enough to break prior, a rule so dumb to break nobody thought previously to make it a rule: it has two introductions. The first introduction is in screen text, about a hunting party never returning in 1816. Stark, dark, and ominous. Except then they followed it with a narrated introduction by Isabelle. The latter, I am afraid, is an incoherent train-wreck about the curse of the red and black (checkers?) having a chance to be stopped . . . blighting the land . . . the white man bringing diseases . . . oaths higher than God or fate . . . or something. Even Ed Wood, Jr. would have been embarrassed enough to rewrite it. Unfortunately, Isabelle drew the short straw on reading the mess, and I felt sorry for her.
This "has-it-begun-yet" effect starts the movie out at a leaden pace, from which it never recovers, and creates a half-assed horror-myth for the story to depend, which insults the audience, not to mention, perhaps, Native Americans.
The story starts in 1816 as two orphaned teenage girls Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) come to a fort in the wilderness that has been under siege for months by some kind of diabolical creatures (I think they might be werewolves). The remaining men in the fort are just a little suspicious since the sisters were able to reach it untouched when nobody else could reach it or set foot outside it without getting ripped to shreds. Except an Indian called Hunter.
It is apparent that the entire production was in over its head at attempting a period piece like this, from the producer, the scriptwriter, to the director and crew, to the actors. The dialog sounds anachronistic, and isn't very good anyway. The characters do not act 21st century, but neither do they act in a way that's believably 19th century. Isabelle and Perkins, and the other actors, are given no historical point of reference and no dialog coaching to be able to pull this off. I could forgive the dialects being inconsistent; if anything, I think dialects were far more diverse in that area then, but they sounded too commonplace. At this budget, they could have aimed for a squalid, scaled down, timeless feeling, but they did not. I could not believe that Isabelle and Perkins' characters fit into the early 19th century at all. The movie tries to joke about this. Ginger (Isabelle) occasionally pipes in with modern swear words that so lilted her dialog in GS1, but given that this movie never sounded 19th century anyway, the comical contrast never works.
Music was a plus in both the original and "Unleashed." In this movie it is just awful. It sounds like they hired a single cellist to play four notes and then looped them repeatedly.
Then there was Ginger's transformation: at least they should have made it somewhat consistent with what occurred in GS1, instead of making her feverish and dizzy. Please. To see a young woman in that time period misbehaving Ginger did. THAT would have been exciting. What we got was boring.
The rest of the cast tries with varying degrees of success. J. R. Bourne does well as the second-in-command, but his character is just two-dimensional, the ahole dimension and the dchebag dimension. Hugh Dillon as the Reverend, also a villain, is allowed to overplay his part, and his accent sounds jarringly anachronistic. In writing his role, however, it's apparent that the screenwriter took care to consult neither the Bible, nor sermons written at the time. The Reverend's preaching sounds almost as nonsensical as the werewolf myth given at the beginning, and I don't think it was deliberate. Matthew Walker as the doctor and Brendan Fletcher as Finn give very good performances, and Fletcher's was so good I was surprised and saddened he did not have a larger part. Tom McCamus does a fair job as the fort commander, or would have done one had the makeup department not given him such a silly wig. He almost makes it look dignified, but his gravitas was one false move away from side-splitting comedy.
I think I'm the wrong gender and sexual orientation to judge Nathanial Arcand playing hunter. Moreover, he reminded me too much of David Carradine in Kung Fu, and that probably means I'm the wrong generation, too. It makes me want to recuse myself from reviewing him.
The movie never rises above its leaden pace and never becomes actually scary. Then there are the little things, like the aforementioned music, or that a werewolf makeup was an immobile mask that was a throwback to the 60s. The werewolves looked like neither wolves nor men, nor anything like the werewolf in GS1.
The only good thing: the ending. No, I'm not being the droll critic talking about what a relief it was that the movie was over. It did have a good ending. You should decide fifteen minutes in if you think it's worth waiting for. Unfortunately, I think this was a desperate endeavor to try to cash in on a great movie's name while putting forward as little money and effort in as possible.
(Upgraded one star from my original review. It is very good to see Perkins and Isabelle work together, and sisters' bond was still evocative and interesting.)
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