Written by Karen Walton & John Fawcett
Directed by John Fawcett
Starring: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Mimi Rogers, and Kris Lemche
This film uses werewolfism as a metaphor for puberty. One of the Fitzgerald sisters, suburban goth girl outcasts, gets bitten by something in the woods (and it ain’t a neighborhood dog).
Being bitten by a werewolf comes with ample self-confidence…and boobs.
Score! This was my first time seeing Ginger Snaps since 2001 and forgot how great it is. Two outcast sisters, frumpy Brigitte (Perkins), and the more volatile Ginger (Isabelle), spend their teenage years plotting their own suicide pacts and taking art photos of elaborate fake death scenes – thank God there wasn’t a local Hot Topic back then, right? Throw in a ferocious animal that’s attacking and killing local dogs, pair it with he Fitzgerald Sisters’ anti-popularity and you have the makings for a better than expected horror movie. Oh, and despite them being nearly sixteen, neither girl has started their period yet. This is some fertile ground for teenage angst – we just need a supernatural spark. Oh, yeah, lycanthropy is a great analogy for crazy body and mood changes.
Ginger Snaps was lost in the barrage of shitty horror movies that hit around 2000. While it might look like another “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” or other mindless horror fare, this is a very fresh and engaging film. The teenagers look and act like teenagers, even down to their very organic dialogue. The sisters make the film, forcing us to empathize and shudder alongside them at every turn. They’re not popular at school, hard to imagine a couple of weird sisters that constantly stage elaborate death and suicide scenes wouldn’t be the homecoming queen, right? Ginger, the more rebellious and meaner of the two, has problems of her own, despite the best efforts of the dawdling mother played by Mimi Rogers. Ginger is eventually attacked by the mysterious wolf, soon after she starts her period and gets hair and places she didn’t have it before. While Simpsons fans might think this sounds a little like “Fuzzy Bunny’s Guide to You Know What”, I promise it’s more comprehensive.
All werewolf movies have a random guy skilled with silver and helpful herbs, too bad he didn’t know much about industrial strength Midol. Ginger Snaps is a great werewolf flick and there’s only a slight drag in the third act to slow it down. The casting, story, and acting are perfect for a genre film and I’m willing to bet a lot of you missed it the first time around. While I love the connection between the sisters becoming women (or getting the “Curse”) as they call it – werewolf lore overflows in all the right places. It’s bloody and brutal, clever and warm, and just downright fun. The third act takes place during Halloween, so add this to your Amazon VOD wishlist. Enjoy the classics, kids.