Ginger Snaps Review
Written by: DrBlood
Ginger Snaps is quite simply the best Canadian horror movie ever made! Not only is it a refreshing change to the usual run-of-the-mill werewolf movies due to being from a teenage girl's perspective but arty-farties can even critique the whole lycanthropy thing as a metaphor for puberty.
You don't have to even be a horror fan to enjoy Ginger Snaps. In fact, a huge percentage of the Ginger Snaps fanbase have never even watched other movies from the horror genre except perhaps for Carrie (which shares similar themes). And it's such a diverse fanbase too. Ginger Snaps appeals to male and female audiences of all ages due to it's great story, phenomenal acting and characters that are immediately identifiable if not entirely empathetic.
From a male perspective (which is the only one I can offer), Katherine Isabelle who plays Ginger Fitzgerald is one of the hottest females in the werewolf subgenre. Even when she sprouts extra hair and a little tail, she still exudes sex appeal far beyond her age and acting ability not that there's anything wrong with either.
Emily Perkins on the other hand is a little odd yet still has her admirers. With the right lighting she can sometimes look a bit like Sarah Michelle Gellar but she's obviously the plainer of the two screen sisters. She's also a fantastic actress and has the slight edge over Katherine Isabelle in being the sympathetic go-between that the audience can most identify with.
Both actresses play off each other so well that if it wasn't for the huge difference in looks, you could imagine them actually really being sisters in real life. It's this chemistry more than the werewolf story itself that draws you in. Dialogue is realistic for the time and place but not especially teenage so it doesn't alienate older viewers. If Ginger Snaps had tried to be more hip and trendy, it would have been a failure and is perhaps another reason why director John Fawcett didn't go more "goth" with his two leads in spite of initially wanting to.
Technically this is a low-budget movie with excellent production values. It looks far better than others of its ilk, werewolf effects are only slightly below par (but there aren't many better ones either), and when it gets gory, the practical effects are superb. Hardcore horror fans might be disappointed that the grisliest kills are more offscreen than on with only the aftermath shown but that only leaves even more to the imagination. If it was made today, the Ginger-wolf would be all CGI and there would be far more complaints.
If you don't know anything about Ginger Snaps or think that it's just a drama for teenage girls then check it out for a big surprise. It's not particularly scary but what werewolf movie is? It's not a comedy though in spite of some witty lines here and there. In many ways it's a tragedy and the ending is suitably downbeat. It could be labelled as a dark-comedy but I hate that term and it doesn't fit Ginger Snaps at all. This is a female driven alternative to The Wolfman but is done so much better.
There is a sequel and a prequel for anyone needing to play catch-up. You've had 9 years since this was released in 2000 so you have no excuse. Viewed together the first Ginger Snaps is still the strongest, most memorable and has the highest rewatchability factor.
I can't recommend this movie highly enough. It should be in everyone's collection and labelled as "ground breaking classic" because it really is that good.