Ginger Snaps is currently available on Amazon Prime.
“Ginger and Brigitte, two sisters trapped in suburbia, are obsessed with mayhem, torture and death… until they get a taste of the real thing.”
“They don’t call it the curse for nothing.” – Tagline
“Just so you know – the words just and cramps, they don’t go together.”
Canadian horror has long been a favorite of mine. I love any horror movie by David Cronenberg – I am sorry that he has graduated to more mainstream, ‘important’ films. Cube (1997) is impressive and spawned the not nearly as good sequels, Cube 2: Hypercube (2002) and Cube Zero (2004). In 2009, there was the interesting but flawed Splice.
Ginger Snaps, written by Karen Walton and directed by John Fawcett, is one of the best werewolf movies I have ever seen. The action is sporadic but fierce until the final act. Fawcett disdained the use of CGI, opting instead to go with prosthetics and makeup.
The best films have a theme that is often different from the plot of the film. The Godfather is all about family and Aliens is about motherhood. Ginger Snaps is all about coming of age as a woman, lycanthropy equals puberty. The equation is not at all subtle but is very well-handled. There is also a strong message of female empowerment in the film.
Ginger Snaps has a very inventive credits sequence, showing a series of staged deaths by our goth teen heroines. It gives you an idea of the level of dark humor in the film and is then revealed to be a class project but it lets us know that the Fitzgerald sisters are a little disturbed.
Katharine Isabelle plays the Ginger of the title, a high school student just getting noticed by the boys. Emily Perkins plays Brigitte, her dweeby sister. The sisters are very close and clearly have anger issues. The two of them have wonderful chemistry and are definitely a part of what makes the film so great.
The sisters carry the film so the supporting cast really is just support. That said Mimi Rogers is excellent as the clueless mother. Her character gets more complex in the third act. Kris Lemche is good as the drug dealer Sam.
Be aware that in addition to the usual horror gore, Ginger Snaps is very foul-mouthed and features sexual and drug-related situations. In short, it is about high schoolers.
People Watch: Yes, that is Lucy Lawless (Xena) heard over the school loudspeaker. Also listen to her page Theodore and Sam Raimi.
Sequel-itis: Ginger Snaps spawned two more movies, both in 2004. Ginger Snaps Unleashed is a sequel and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning is a prequel of sorts. Both are actually quite good (if not the classic that Ginger Snaps is) and Ginger Snaps Back is currently available on instant Netflix.