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Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (2004)

Entre soeurs II: Déchainées

It only dies if you do.

Directed by:

Brett Sullivan

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Canada

In 2000, the Canadian indie horror ‘Ginger Snaps’ became one of the cult hits of the year with its sharp teeth, even sharper wit, and dogged determination to add a liberal dose of Girl Power to the traditional werewolf tale. Now, four years later, comes the almost inevitable sequel. And don’t be fooled by its straight-to-video status: if anything, this one’s even better, with a darker storyline, better effects, and even more bite (in more ways than one, as per usual).

Picking up more or less where its predecessor left off, the perennially dour Brigitte (Emily Perkins) is having a pretty tough time of it. Not only is she still coming to terms with the death of her unnervingly-hairy sis Ginger (Katharine Isabelle), but now she too is gradually starting to wolf out. She injects herself regularly with the purple poison monkshood to keep the beast within at bay, but such behaviour only leads to her being mistaken for a junkie and thrown into a clinic for girlie drug addicts. And if you think all of that makes her life sound a bit rubbish, bear in mind the fact that I haven’t even mentioned the male werewolf who’s taken a bit of a fancy to her and won’t rest until he’s had some monster-on-monster action.

Like the original, it goes a bit limp in the middle, and there’s a major flaw in the totally unnecessary return of Ginge herself as a ghostly apparition dishing out useless advice to her increasingly tetchy sibling. There’s also the fact that the wolfman, though an improvement on the effort from last time round, looks exactly like the bloke dressed up in a dodgy costume that it is.

But those are minor problems, and at least one of them is unavoidable in such low-budget fare. This isn’t just one of the best horror movies of the year, but it’s also one of the best sequels, doing what many others don’t have the guts to do by changing its lead character and moving in a new, unexpected direction. It would have been easy to think up a half-hearted reason to resurrect Ginger and have the whole thing take place once again at the local High School – but ‘Unleashed’ is its own film, and it’s all the more memorable for it.

It's Got: One of the most unexpected final twists I can recall seeing – so make sure you stick with it right up until the end.

It Needs: For someone to have had enough faith in the series to stump up the cash needed to get that werewolf looking a little more convincing.

DVD Extras A trailer, some deleted scenes, cast auditions, original storyboards, and a quick look at how ol’ Wolfy was created (i.e. bloke puts on wolf costume and runs around a bit). DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

Ginger Snaps, Ginger Snaps Back, Teen Wolf, Wolf

Summary

It’s sis’s turn to transform into a complete dog in this superior sequel to one of the top underground horror stories of the last few years.

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