GINGER SNAPS (2000)
D. John Fawcett
For reasons that I can't fully explain I have somehow missed this one up until now, so it was about time I pulled it off the shelf and checked it out. This Canadian made teen werewolf movie has a lot of respect in the horror industry in the last decade and I am happy to report that I can se why. Smartly scripted with a lot of strong undercurrent of teenage sexual tension, the film has a lot to say about growing up, sisterly bonds, and finding oneself in the shadow of someone who tends to shine brighter.
For the few uninitiated GINGER SNAPS is about two teenage sisters both of who are obsessed with death and have made a pact to be outcasts. Bridgett, (EmilyPerkins) the younger and more introverted of the two seems to have a more level head on her shoulders, while Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) seems to be more impulsive and manipulative. She is the one who has forced her sister into a suicide pact (more out of boredom than anything) and constantly seems to bemoan the lameness of everything around them. Neither girls have gotten their periods for reasons that are never explained. But Ginger finally does and on the way home from pulling a prank one night theay are attacked by a giant wolf. During the chase the wolf is hit by a van driven by the town drug dealer and killed. But Ginger slowly begins to change; both physically, growing a tail, claws and patches of hair, and emotionally; by becoming sexually agressive, bitchy and violent. It is only a matter of time before things turn violent, and the monster inside of Ginger will find the way out.
The movie is sleekly directly and moves at a great pace, asking you to think about the situations as they are put forth. But does so with some nicely placed humor along the way. The only real problem I had with GINGER SNAPS was that I found the character of Ginger to be fairly unlikable. I should have been connected to her more, but for all her problems and attempts at being an outcast she ultimately ends up being a bitch more often than not. A big part of the plot of course is the journey of her younger sister finding her way out from her more dominant sister, but I found it difficult to like Ginger at many times during the film.
But that is a small complaint in the over all final film which is a stylish, violent, and at the final moments, surprisinly touching, flick. I see why it resonated with the festival audiences, and genre fans when it was released. I'll get around to seeing the sequels at some point though I has heard from many they are not nearly as good.
Review © Andrew Copp