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Gingers Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)

Ginger Snaps 3

Directed by:

Grant Harvey

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18


Okay, okay, I’ll put my hands up. I know I praised the second addition to this franchise, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed, for having the bravery to change direction and do something a bit different, so I don’t really have any right to have a pop when this next instalment takes that to the next logical level. But really, folks – taking the two stars, transplanting them back to the 19th Century, and saying nothing as to the whys or hows? Is it just me, or is adding an inexplicable time-travelling element a little TOO different?

For those of you who haven’t seen the first two ‘Ginger Snaps’ flicks, they’re basically about a couple of teenage sisters – Ginger and Brigitte (Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins) – who find themselves in a series of hairy situations after one of them is bitten by a werewolf.

When we join them this time, they’re somewhat perplexingly wandering through the Canadian wilderness in the year 1815. They seek refuge at a settlers’ stronghold, where the blokes inside are cacking themselves with fear over the nightly pounding their defences take from the beasts lurking in the woods. Understandably, these new hosts are an unhinged lot, perennially squabbling amongst themselves and becoming increasingly agitated with the relentless bible-bashing of resident preacher Gilbert (Hugh Dillon). Noticeably though, given the fact that they’ve been starved of female company for God knows how long and suddenly have these two fairly attractive young girlies living with them, it’s a film strangely lacking in sexual subtext.

As a stand-alone horror project, ‘Ginger Snaps Back’ is just about passable. It utilises some nice ideas (look out for the leech gimmick), there’s a decent quotient of requisite gore, and it’s arguably the best-directed of the trilogy (with its impressive scenery and cinematography, I’d have loved a chance to see it on the big screen).

Unfortunately, the whole thing is under-pinned by a plot which quite simply doesn’t make any sense: if the Ginger and Brigitte we see here are supposed to be previous incarnations of themselves, then why do they act and talk as if they’re from the modern day? On the other hand, if we’re expected to believe they’ve somehow travelled back in time, then how did they manage it and why is it never mentioned? Even worse, the dark, knowing humour which provided the backbone of the first two flicks is abandoned here, leaving this one bogged down by emotion and sobriety.

Unleashed rubber-stamped Brigitte as the more interesting of the two characters (not to mention Perkins as the better actress), so to backtrack now and attempt to re-establish Ginger as the main focus is neither necessary nor desirable. That second episode also had a brilliant ending which left all who watched it hungry to find out what happens next. So what do the writers do? They come up with a third episode completely unrelated to the story it worked so hard on building up. If they make a fourth one, Ginger might not be the only one who snaps.

It's Got: There’s some wise old Native American hocus-pocus which seems to have been thrown in as a wholly-unnecessary after-thought.

It Needs: The wolf-out process to be a little less half-hearted – I’m sure the actors did it a little more enthusiastically in the first two instalments.

DVD Extras A trailer, some deleted scenes, a two-minute butcher’s at the “Wolfboy” make-up process, and director Grant Harvey’s video diary. Version reviewed Gingers Snaps Back: The Beginning DVD Extras Rating: 5/10


Let’s hope this confusing and inferior addition to the franchise is Ginger’s final snap.

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