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GINGER SNAPS BACK

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PHOTOGRAPHY

DVD Review-   GINGER SNAPS BACK: THE BEGINNING

by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 94 minutes, deleted scenes (with or without commentary), featurettes, blooper reel, and commentary track.

STUDIO: LION'S GATE

starring Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Tom McCamus, J R Bourne, and Nathaniel Arcand

PLOT: Ginger and Brigette end up at a Trading Company outpost in 1815 . This same trading outpost is under seige from werewolves in this prequel to the first movie.

ANALYSIS: I enjoyed the first two GINGER SNAPS movie, but the best has been saved for last with GINGER SNAPS BACK. This prequel to the first two films has to be the most effective movie in the GINGER SNAPS series. Adding to that, GINGER SNAPS BACK is a very effective horror movie with plenty of atmosphere and tension. The prequel has excellent production and costume design, an effective music score, and great actors including Tom McCamus that some genre fans may best know for his performance as Mason Eckhart on the cancelled TV show MUTANT X.  McCamus is a true chameleon as he looks nothing like he did in MUTANT X.  I can't find any fault with the performances here and I'm glad this is a dark fairy tale (because the humor wouldn't work in what the director is trying to do with this movie).

This scary prequel projects claustraphobia when the story is in the fort while showing a creepy void alive with unknown danger when Brigette and Ginger are in the forrest.

VIDEO/ AUDIO: GINGER SNAPS BACK is presented in 1.85:1 anamoprhic widescreen. I have to say the transfer looks better than the one for GINGER SNAPS 2. It is soft looking, but the details are clear. I noticed no artifacts. The colors and blacks aren't too bad.

You can hear the movie in English 5.1 Dolby Digital or English 2.0 Dolby Surround. Also there is the option of English or Spanish subtitles. You can hear the dialogue clearly. The rest of the audio lends to building the atmosphere and creepiness of the movie.

SPECIAL FEATURES: First, the DVD has two deleted scenes and two extended scenes. They're interesting alone, but they don't work with the final cut (and one scene even subtracts from the movie). Quality of the scenes are like they have been taken off a VHS tape and not cleaned up.

Second, there are plenty of featurettes. GRANT HARVEY'S VIDEO DIARY is about ten minutes long and it shows some of the work (and thoughts) of the director during pre-production and production of the movie. This is my favorite featurette on the DVD because it give unique insight into things happening behind-the-scenes. I do like Grant's joke they couldn't get real werewolves (from the werewolf farm in Lativa) due to the low budget of the movie.

Next, WOLF BOY is a two minute featurette showing behind-the-scenes footage of the werewolf make-up being applied to the child actor and some production footage.

BLLOD, GUTS, AND FIRE (8 1/2 minutes long) shows how the blood effects and the fire scenes were done. They also talk about how they decided to expand on a character's death scene. You also get to see them showing producer Paula Devonshire how one of the blood effects. PRODUCTION DESIGN is a 5 minute featurette on the work that went into making a historical park look like the fictional trading post in the movie and show some of the sets being built on stage. Todd Cherniawsky (the Production Designer) talks about all of the details that went into the production design of the movie. COSTUME DESIGN ( 3 1/2 minutes long) features the costume designer (Alex Kavanagh) talking about the design work that went into the costumes for the prequel. Much of it was based on the time period while some of it was based on the look they wanted to achieve for certain characters. You see costume sketches too. BEHIND THE SCENES is a worthless two minute featurette that basically shows the same stuff that is the FUN ON THE SET featurette. FUN ON THE SET is a 3 1/2 minute blooper reel consisting of muskets that malfunction, a door that gets stuck, a rubber axe that bends, and much laughter by the cast during takes.

Also there is a commentary track with director Grant Harvey, writer Stephen Massicotte, and editor Ken Filewych (look for it in the set up menu). They talk about how the prequel came about, Katharine Isabelle wears a wig for the movie because she didn't want to dye her hair, how Paula Devonshire looks great in a corset (for a couple of insert shots they didn't use), the difficulties of filming a low budget movie, and the regret they cut some scenes out that contained the comedy bits. They also reveal some of the difficulties they had cutting some scenes and point out some of the things they wish they could have done better. Grant Harvey envsioned this movie as a dark, grim fairy tale.

FINAL ANALYSIS: If you're looking for a good werewolf movie or horror movie, rent or buy GINGER SNAPS BACK.  This movie won't disappoint fans of the GINGER SNAPS series (unless you think the dark humor of the first two is the most important item needed for a GINGER SNAPS movie).

this review is (c)9-8-2004 David Blackwell. This review cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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