Ginger Snaps Review
The teenage horror genre has been mercilessly flogged to death in recent years, in comparison to the early nineties when you could count examples of the genre on one hand. However, those sick of seeing Neve Campbell shriek in horror in the latest Scream installment or the dire comic references of the Scary Movie saga can rejoice in the fact that a Canadian low budget werewolf flick with no stars could be the best attempt at decent and original horror filmmaking of recent years.
Plotwise, two unpopular teenage sisters with a fascination for death and gothic clothing find themselves biting off more than they can chew when the eldest sister Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) is bitten by a ferocious stray werewolf on a full moon's night. Soon enough, Ginger finds herself gradually growing a tale and becoming hairier by the minute and lusting after meat of the human variety. Her sister Brigette (Emily Perkins) soon takes it upon herself to stop her sister's hell-bent descent into flesh-eating madness, but is faced by a problem so detrimental to her quest that it could only have been brought on by nature herself - Ginger's first dealings with the menstrual cycle!
On every level, be it an all action gore-feast, extremely macabre black humour or satire about parental problems with growing up teenagers, Ginger Snaps works because it believes in itself and doesn't cop out to the audience. You won't find any A-list stars or Kevin Williamson scripts here. The first seventy five percent of the film placed it in modern classic status, but the final quarter was let down by slower pacing and a too heavily drawn out conclusion. The film is about fifteen minutes too long, and needed a ninety-minute running time to ensure a more polished slickness. The film also feels like some scenes were cut out for length, and this is especially evident during some of the final scenes (such as what happens to the mother after she dropped the sisters off to the greenhouse party?).
From such a relative unknown cast, the acting is admirable, and worthy of particular mention is Emily Perkins as Brigette, an actress who can play a kooky yet emotional teenage girl very convincingly. Mimi Rogers, arguably the only 'celebrity' in the pack, has a very comic turn as the sisters' out-of-touch but well meaning mother. The direction by John Fawcett of his own script suggests good potential from his mainly TV origins. The atmosphere hits the right notch and the tension is never diminished, even if humourous moments occur. And speaking of humourous moments, never before has there been so many jokes about girls' periods in a movie, and never before in a cinema has only the male half of the audience laughed completely without the females!
Ginger Snaps is not a blockbuster summer movie because in all honesty it deserves better categorisation than that. It's a slick, well made horror movie with some great comic touches and it certainly has much for the audience to get their teeth into.