Ginger Snaps was a huge surprise when it seemingly burst onto the scene out of nowhere a couple of years back. John Fawcett's fresh take on the werewolf genre managed to work as both an effective and violent horror flick, as well as a somewhat touching tale of the strength of sisterhood in the face of adversity. The film's bittersweet finale didn't seem to lend itself to a sequel, but it's success all but guaranteed that we had not seen the last of the Fitzgerald sisters.
In the last film, Brigitte (Perkins) had infected herself with the werewolf virus in hopes of stopping her sister Ginger's (Isabelle) murderous rampage. Sadly, the only way to stop Ginger was by killing her. Brigitte, meanwhile, is living with the werewolf virus, holding back its full effects with a regiment of monkshood injections and bloodletting. When a werewolf that's been tracking Brigette finds her at a motel she's been hiding out in, she narrowly escapes, but passes out in the street. When she awakens, she's locked in a hybrid drug rehab/asylum, where she is deprived of her "medicine", and begins to change. A young girl named Ghost (Maslany, whose entire world seems to be dictated by the actions of comic book characters) discovers Brigitte's secret, and offers to help her escape from the asylum. However, the werewolf that's been tracking Brigitte is right on her ever-growing tail.
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed is a surprisingly good follow-up to the original, that offers a nice change of pace from the usual sequel fare. Ginger Snaps editor, Brett Sullivan, takes over directorial duties here, and does a fine job of retaining the feel of the original while adding just enough of his own flourishes as to make it his own, while Emily Perkins shines as she takes center-stage from Isabelle (who only appears in voiceover and a few brief "ghostly" visits). Tatiana Maslany is, at first, somewhat hard to take as the precocious Ghost (Big McLargehuge kept referring to her as Newt, and hoped for a quick and violent demise), but, as we begin to see another side of her quirky character, she's actually quite good. The whole affair is actually just as solid as the original, until it's somewhat misguided denouement, which, in my opinion, doesn't fit with the series' established mythology.
The DVD from Lion's Gate features a production commentary, a handful of deleted scenes, and a couple of extras that aren't really anything more than short (and by short I mean two or three pages) slide shows depicting Brigitte's journal and Ghost's comic art. This, however, is a giant step above the Artisan release of the original Ginger Snaps, which was bare bones all the way.
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed is a worthy sequel to one of the most impressive low-budget horror films to come along in ages, and is well worth checking out. However, I would suggest that you see the original film first, as the sequel doesn't offer much by way of a "recap" of previous events.