It's been about a year and a half since I last visited the Fitzgerald sisters, despite the many suggestions that I most definitely, have to, must see the sequel. As we know I sometimes feel funny about sequels, but I had made up my mind to give Ginger Snaps 2 a shot. The comments after my first Ginger Snaps viewing ranged from people loving the sequel more, to hating it, to not even seeing it on principle. I wasn't sure what to think but now--consider me on team Ginger Snaps 2.
Here's the thing about Ginger Snaps 2--it's awesome. One of the problems I had with the first film was that Ginger annoyed me. I still can't be sure if it was simply or character or the acting chops of Katharine Isabelle, who seemed to be just a tad too bitchy and mean to really seem very convincing. Ginger Snaps 2 however finds us almost completely in the care of Emily Perkins/Brigitte which is a blessing from high heaven. Katharine Isabelle makes a few cameos here and there but it's all good in the hood. Plus, it makes me sad because I remember how touching that last part of Ginger Snaps was and then I think of MY sister and I get all weepy and mopey.
Ginger Snaps 2 takes place at some point after the events of the first film. Brigitte is trying to cope with the after affects of injecting herself with her sister's blood--and has developed a dependency on the monkshood. The herbs apparently are just delaying the disease however and we soon find that a mysterious werewolf has been stalking Brigitte. After she overdoses on the monkshood one night, and her brief companion is killed by the other werewolf, Brigitte wakes up and finds herself in a rehab clinic. With no easy way to get the monkshood or escape--Brigitte soon realizes that she is running out of time.
The best thing about Ginger Snaps 2 is that it is a sequel that has a brain. This isn't simply a rehashing of all the best parts about the original. Instead, it rather intelligently takes the premise and offers up a completely new and intriguing side to things--and it does this in one of the most unpredictable ways I have ever seen. When I saw the first film, I quipped how funny it was that monkshood turned into this crazy heroin-like drug. Well, obviously... that was obvious and the whole idea that Brigitte wakes up in a drug rehabilitation center is absolutely perfect. Perfect because it puts a whole new urgency on Brigitte's situation. It's also like combining Girl Interrupted with werewolves which is kind of awesome.
But here's the thing about this drug addiction concept. When I first read the synopsis I pictured in my head some mass hysteria involving Brigitte turning into a werewolf and slowly but surely, the patients and staff would be killed by some beast. This would be the predictable route. However--Ginger Snaps 2 does NOT go there. It instead continues to keep its focus on Brigitte and on the nature of her disease and her desire to stop it. The film does not sacrifice the story line and more importantly the characterization, in order to make the film more entertaining. Bonus points all over the place.
The other reason that makes Ginger Snaps 2 completely awesome is of course the presence of Emily Perkins. Why is she so amazing? I have no clue--but this girl can act. Why isn't she in more things, and more importantly--did you know she's 33?! Not during this but still...she wasn't 17 or whatever. But damn she has some DEPTH, and it blows my mind throughout the entire film. I guess I could be considered as an impartial judge to which Ginger Snaps is better--but I don't know. I think Emily Perkins makes Ginger Snaps 2 slightly if not much more better than the first. After all, my only real complaint with the first film was that it needed MORE Emily Perkins. Wish granted.
There's a lot of people divided on the ending of Ginger Snaps 2 however and to be honest I'm kind of on the fence. One of things people told me about Ginger Snaps 2 whether they loved or hated it, was that the ending was depressing. I didn't necessarily find the ending to be depressing (unless if by depressing they meant, annoying) but after doing more thinking about it, I don't necessarily hate it. In my head I envisioned something much different, like something perhaps with suicide or what have you--but what we got stayed true to Ginger Snaps 2 an its overall philosophy of the true nature of being a beast. It adds once more to the intelligence surrounding the film and once again doesn't sacrifice its themes for entertainment purposes. So I don't know. I JUST DON'T KNOW. Topic for the comments I suppose.
Overall, Ginger Snaps 2 is a truly surprising sequel. There's a lot to think about and a lot to love. It's unbelievably well written and for once dialogue is natural AND oddly hilarious at the same time. Sure, the overall cool darkness of the Fitzgerald sisters is absent--but Ginger Snaps 2 is mature. This is fitting because if you recall, Ginger Snaps had a lovely subtopic framed around the idea of menstruation and growing up. Consider Ginger Snaps 2 an ultimate portrayal of life once you realize that you're grown up and have to you know...do things for yourself. So maybe we aren't turning into wolves. But we are paying bills, student loans and trying to find a job so that our cats won't die. Same thing basically.
My advice to you is watch Ginger Snaps 2. Tis awesome, surprising and a real lesson in how to make a sequel not completely blow. Plus there are wolves. And a strange masturbation scene. And funniness. And AWESOME things. Just watch it. That is all.