Stepping back into the world of werewolves and the sisters Ginger and Brigitte, Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning follows a similar path laid down by many film series’ previously. Which is what to do when you’ve run out of ideas or been written into a corner. What do you do? Make a prequel.
Yes, Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning is a prequel to the first two films in the series and the final entry in the series (as of early 2020). You can read our review of Ginger Snaps here and Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed here. A prequel that stars the two female leads of the previous films playing the exact same roles with the exact same names and behaviours. Except it’s set in 1815 now.
Puzzled about how this might work? Well, true to the series’ form so far, it does! It’s not a patch on the original but as werewolf horrors go, it’s enjoyable enough. However that may be because personally I enjoy the pairing of Katharine Isabelle’s Ginger and Emily Perkins’ Brigitte so having them together again is already a positive.
They’re both great and again, sink their teeth deeply into the roles, seeming to relish the opportunity to play these characters in a new environment.
The environment of the Canadian wilderness as Ginger and Brigitte find themselves lost. They come across an elderly Indian woman who gives them a stark warning. One that makes little sense to the women and us. Kill the boy to stop one sister killing the other. What boy? And why would either sister kill the other?
Maybe it’s got something to do with the howling wolf the sisters hear startling their horse and seeing Brigitte get caught in a bear trap. Ginger goes to find help but Brigitte is found and rescued by a man who takes her and Ginger to Fort Bailey. There the women pretend to be daughters of a trader but discover the Fort is under constant attack. The men inside Fort Bailey constantly fending off werewolf assaults.
It’s here in the fort that the mystery of the old woman’s warning is answered as Ginger discovers a badly deformed boy locked in a cell. Feeling pity for him, she tries to help him but gets bitten for her actions. Thus begins Ginger’s transformation into a werewolf but unlike the previous films, she’s not the main threat here. With other werewolves assaulting the Fort constantly the men have grown weary, suspicious and violent. A coup is coming and the new arrivals have targets on their backs.
The story is solid although it does get a bit contrived in the latter third as we start to hear of prophecies and other rubbish. Filler plot points that really amount to nothing as the end result is exactly what you’d expect especially if you paid attention to the sister’s bond throughout.
Once again it’s the duo’s acting that really stand out the most here. However, credit must also be given to JR Bourne who plays a deliciously unlikable character and Hugh Dillon as the fire and brimstone Reverend. Both are great fun to watch.
The other thing that really stands out are the effects. Now smartly the werewolves are kept mostly hidden but what we do see looks great. The blood and guts is split with glee and the deformed boy is horrifying to look at. There’s no complaints here and even the location, while just a bland fort, is a welcome change to the tired ‘normal’ locations that make up most of horror now.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning is that you realistically could watch it not having seen any of the previous movies and still enjoy it. For those that have been along for the ride though, the reward is more investment with the characters even if technically they’re not the same ones.
Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning
The Final Score - 6.5/10