Ginger Snaps Back

Starring: Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle
Mosaic Entertainment

Certificate: 18
Available 27 December 2004

Travelling through the 19th Century Canadian wilderness are sisters Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald, survivors from a shipwreck which killed their parents. The two young women come across an abandoned Indian settlement where an old woman tells them to "Kill the boy, or one sister will kill the other." When Brigitte gets caught in an animal trap it seems that she will be attacked by a wolf, but a Red Indian brave calls it off and takes the two women to a nearby fort where soldiers, Indians and shipwrecked sailors have banded together in an unhappy alliance. Suspicion reigns during the day, and at night there is an onslaught from werebeasts. Then Ginger is attacked and bitten by a child in the stages of transformation. The wild dreams and visions come and the girls realise that Ginger's metamorphosis is only a matter of time...

You can count on one hand the number of sequels which improve on the film originals. Ginger Snaps Back isn't one of them, but it does improve on the previous follow-up, Ginger Snaps Unleashed. Back acts as a prequel, telling the story of the girls' first connection to the bloodcurse in a setting of woods, wolves and werebeasts. Many of the fort's survivors are understandably paranoid, and their different walks of life makes for believable conflict. Even the annoying 'holier-than-thou' priest eventually gets his comeuppance, though not in the manner you would expect.

On the downside, only a throwaway one-liner half-heartedly attempts to explain that the original English and French settlers brought the curse from Europe. But why do the beasts just congregate in that area? And where have they been up to that point? Who was the first Canadian werewolf? Perhaps we need a Ginger Snaps Further Back to explore these queries.

That aside, there's far more pros than cons to watching this movie. The sisters are acted with feeling throughout, and the Indian brave proves to be a multidimensional watchable character. His companion wild wolf is used simply but to great effect. If I were faced with a wolf which snarled with that much open ferocity, I'm sure my heart would stop, if only for a moment. But it's nice to see because it's natural.

Ty Power