Ginger Snaps. Not just a delicious biscuit for dunking in tea, but also the name of a trilogy of female-focused werewolf movies from the early 2000s. Something of a cult classic, the films are now getting a lovely new trilogy boxset release from Second Sight.
The first Ginger Snaps (directed by John Fawcett) is a thinly veiled metaphor about puberty/menstruation through the medium of werewolves. Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) are the odd kids. The troubled, vaguely-goth, obsessed with death kids whose idea of a school project is to take lots of artfully posed pictures of their apparently dead bodies. I was particularly fond of the one where Ginger appeared to be cut in half by a garage door. But Ginger, Ginger is going through… changes. Not only is she becoming a woman at long last, she’s also slowly becoming a werewolf.
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The second film, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (directed by Brett Sullivan), follows Brigitte as she ends up in a rehab clinic where the staff assume she’s a junkie rather than a werewolf. An easy mistake to make, really. Brigitte must try and escape the clinic, aided by another resident of the clinic called Ghost (Tatiana Maslany), while dodging the advances of a sleazy and sadistic clinic worker named Tyler (Eric Johnson), before she fully succumbs to the werewolf curse and slaughters everyone around her.
The final film of the trilogy, Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (directed by Grant Harvey), is a prequel, moving us to the 1800s and the wilds of Canada to show how the curse began. Brigitte and Ginger are lost in the woods and, after Brigitte runs afoul of a bear trap, are rescued by a Cree hunter who takes them to Fort Bailey. Here the pair find a tentative kind of refuge, though they must deal with the attentions of the woman-hating reverend Gilbert (Hugh Dillon) and the thuggish soldier James (JR Bourne) who views the girls’ presence with suspicion. Oh, and did we mention that the fort is under siege by werewolves? Bummer.
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All three films are strong examples of the werewolf genre, though Snaps Back is a weaker offering than the other two, taking longer to really get into the meat of things. No werewolf puns intended. It’s also a lovely bit of continuity that the sisters are played by the same actors in all three films, and in Snaps Back one of the characters from Unleashed even makes an appearance in the form of Tyler/Finn (Brendan Fletcher).
So what’s on offer from Second Sight in this trilogy? The biggest draw is that Ginger Snaps Back, to the best of my knowledge, has never had a Blu-ray release in the UK or USA till now, previously only being available on DVD or digitally, though it did get a high-def release in other countries and those versions appear to be long out of print and go for silly money second hand. There’s no specific new restoration on offer here, and while each film comes with a plethora of special features, it should be noted that the bulk of these features have been included in the previous offerings.
In terms of new features, there’s a new commentary track for Ginger Snaps, taking it to a rather generous total of three different commentaries. The new track features Mary Beth McAndrews and Terry Mesnard who are both huge fans of the movie, and their enthusiasm shines through in their effusive praise. There are also new interviews with the director, producer Steve Hoban and storyboard artist Vincenzo Natali.
Ginger Snaps: Unleashed gets two new interviews, one with the director and one with writer Megan Martin, and Ginger Snaps Back gets a new interview with the director and that’s your lot. With Ginger Snaps being the best and most well known film of the trilogy, it’s perhaps no real surprise to see Second Sight lavishing the most attention on it in terms of new content.
So is this new trilogy worth picking up? Definitely. New content aside, it groups three cult classic movies together in one lovely little offering, all of them in HD which looks lovely even today. The use of practical effects for the wolves and the transformations means that the effects haven’t dated much at all. There’s also the limited edition which comes with the slipcase, the art cards, and a book with new essays from Kat Hughes, Jolene Richardson, Meredith Borders and more. It’s a shame that there’s no new 2K or 4K restoration here, but that doesn’t detract from this being a great way for people to discover this classic trilogy all over again.
The Ginger Snaps Trilogy is out now on Limited Edition Blu-ray from Second Sight Films.