The Ginger Snaps Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

A look at Second Sight's superb new box set

James Whittington
Thursday, October 26, 2023

Ginger Snaps Trilogy - Blu-ray Box Set

Second Sight Films

Certificate 18

Werewolf movies are a strange breed of horror films. Though this creature of the night has a loyal following there’s rarely anything new brought to the genre. This is where Ginger Snaps and its two sequels fit in. The original is now regarded as a seminal moment in horror movie history, a feminist take which delivers constantly though its duration. Now the original and follow-ups have been given a release to be proud of thanks to Second Sight Films in a box set which contains so many quality extras it would take far too long to discuss in any sort of detail.

Ginger Snaps from 2000 is set in the suburban Canadian town of Bailey Downs, where a series of dog killings piques the interest of a pair of outcast teens; sisters Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) Fitzgerald. Then on the night of Ginger's first period, she is savagely attacked by a wild creature but even though her injuries miraculously heal, she’s left with a newfound desire to devour. Brigitte must find a way to save her sister from her werewolf ways and with only 28 days to do so, can she stop the creature her sister has become in its tracks, or will they both succumb to the animalistic instincts?

What starts as a tale about two misfits not wanting to fit in anywhere, the movie smartly gears up from a traditional teen story of puberty and growing up into a bloody tale of body transformation in more ways than one. The sharp script allows Perkins and Isabelle to fully form their characters with heart and emotion whilst dealing with an ever increasingly bizarre situation. Director and co-writer John Fawcett sets a pace that sets up traditional horror set pieces and mixes them with humour and practical effects. The supporting cast react honestly to the events whilst the gradual transformation is inspired and effective. A classic in every sense of the word this movie comes complete with three commentary tracks, a selection of interviews, rehearsal footage, a making of doc, deleted scenes with optional commentaries, design work plus trailers an TV spots. The transfer is solid, bold and contains a lot of detail during the darker moments of the movie. The soundtrack is sharp and clear and allows the dialogue to be heard over the more nosier moments.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed from 2004 was directed by Brett Sullivan, and sees Brigitte wrestling with her own transformation, as she is forcefully put into rehab and must identify friend from foe, all the while battling a male werewolf who’s stalking her. Luckily, she has vision of Ginger to help her through this incredibly challenging time. Ginger Snaps was always going to be a tough act to follow but the ace up Brett Sullivan’s sleeve is that he’s directing a dark and razor-sharp script from Karen Walton and Megan Martin. They refuse to let this be a by the numbers sequel and instead takes the idea into very dark territory indeed. Gone are the smart-arsed one-liners and instead a psychological theme is inserted. At times the bleached look of the movie creates a disorientating tone that is unsettling yet serious adding a raw feeling. Tatiana Maslany, and Eric Johnson add solid support in a movie which is long-due re-evaluation. This disc contains a director’s commentary, a couple of interviews, behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes with optional commentary audition tapes and storyboards. The image is excellent throughout delivering a sharp transfer with an involving soundtrack to match.

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004) was shot back-to-back with part 2 and was directed by Grant Harvey. The movie follows Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald (ancestors of the original one movie), in 19th century Canada. They must battle villagers and werewolves alike at a Trader’s Fort as accusations and attacks come at them from all sides. Can they make it out alive or will they succumb to a lycanthropic life? Once again, the series takes a turn in design and delivers a historical horror with plenty of invention and thought gone into it. Perkins and Isabelle once more are outstanding adding more to their interpretations of these troubled sisters and the element of folklore and belief bring an added dimension to the Ginger Snaps mythos. What does let it down is that it does seem limited by budget and the more monstrous moments are reduced but don’t let this stop you from viewing as this could easily stand by itself but as a third entry into a trilogy it’s a lot stronger than some I could mention. The disc comes with a director’s commentary, a couple of interviews, a making of doc, deleted scenes with optional commentary and Grant Harvey’s video diaries. The transfer shows the limitation of the budget, but this doesn’t distract from the enjoyment of the movie. Detail, even for the nighttime scenes are deep. The soundtrack is clear with some nice bass extensions during the attack sequences.

The set comes in a rigid slipcase with new artwork by Michael Dunbabin, containing a 112-page book with new essays by Meredith Borders, Kat Hughes, Dr Rachel Knightley, Mikel J Koven, Jolene Richardson, Zoë Rose Smith and Caelum Vatnsdal plus 5 collectors' art cards.

I’ve only skipped through the highlights of this set in this review; I could go into so much detail but why waste time doing that when you should just be out there discovering this incredible set for yourself. Highly recommended.