Ginger Snaps (2000)
Emily Perkins as Brigitte Fitzgerald
Katherine Isabelle as Ginger
Fitzgerald Kris Lemche as Sam
By The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts
I am going to let you in on a little secret. No matter how hard I try, every once in a while a horror film gets past my keen senses without me knowing that it exists. Yes, I know it is a shocker but perfection is definitely not one of my redeeming qualities. Ginger Snaps came and went and even with Katherine Isabelle (hubba, hubba) I completely missed it. But I have made amends and now offer a review for your reading (and hopefully your future viewing) pleasure.
Ginger Snaps does not hold back anything. Any doubts at what type of film you are about to watch are put to rest in the beginning. From the first frames we find a family pooch ripped to sheds.
There seems to be a “beast” in the area that has a craving for canine cuisine. We are then introduced to the Fitzgerald sisters, Brigitte (Emily Perkins), 15, and Ginger (Katherine Isabelle), 16, who have a morbid fascination with death and the creation of static death scenes. So much so, that they produce realistic photos of their own demise, in various poses, for a school project.
Both girls are late bloomers when it comes to the womanly “curse” and on the night that Ginger starts her trek through the unknown realms of puberty she gets attacked by what is later correctly assumed to be a werewolf.
The changes that Ginger goes through start out minor enough to be confused with typical body change symptoms but soon become overwhelming. Brigitte, in the mean time, is trying to keep her sister on a short leash (get it? never mind) while at the same time trying to find a cure for her lycanthropic behavior with the help from Sam (Kris Lemche) the local drug dealer and plant enthusiast.
Ginger Snaps is probably the most original werewolf movie since The Howling. It succeeds where other werewolf movies have failed because it refuses to stay inside the Hollywood designed mythos – the supposed rules that silver is deadly, werewolfs only come out during the full moon, etc. Instead, this film returns to some of the more obscure medieval legends and puts a modern twist to them.
This film also succeeds in creating an atmosphere of continuing wonder and anxiousness about what is going to happen next.
And while you are on the edge of your seat, a dark humor is thrown in periodically and effectively to take you off of that edge just to turn you around and put you right back again.
John Fawcett (director/co-writer) and Karen Walton (writer) have created a subtle yet intelligent pure horror film that deserves to be taken seriously. Whether or not you are a werewolf fan,Ginger Snaps is a movie that should not be missed.