ginger snaps | drama | fantasy | john fawcett | karen walton | emily perkins | katharine isabelle | kris lemche | werewolf | monster | creature | curse | thriller | canada | united states | mimi rogers | jesse moss | danielle hampton | john bourgeois | peter keleghan
Film: Ginger Snaps
Director: John Fawcett
Writer: Karen Walton
Starring: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle and Kris Lemche
This was a movie that the first time I knew it exist was when I saw my sister watching it and I asked about it. She’s a fan and I’m not going to lie, I brushed it off. At the time I didn’t give a lot of chances to movies she was watching. I do have to eat crow because I was wrong here. It took getting into podcasts to realize how high people were on it and I’ll admit, there was probably some built in misogyny that I needed to get over.
Synopsis: two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly creature.
Now I know most people already know what the creature is in this movie, but I figured that I’d clan up the synopsis to take out what it is. As the synopsis states though, we have Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle), who are sisters. B is 15 but is bright so she skipped a grade where Ginger is 16. They’re extremely close and share an interest in death. As a hobby, they take pictures of each other in this state in an artful way. The special effects here are solid to boot. It should be set up that the two did made a pact that they would die together at 16.
What is interesting though is that they have a normal home life, they just resist it to be different. Their mother is Pamela (Mimi Rogers), who is a bit of Leave it to Beaver or The Brady Brunch type. The two girls were like me in junior high, when I had a bit of ‘gothic light’ phase to be honest. They aren’t popular so they resist trying to fit into it.
There are rumors of a beast around their town, killing dogs. We get to see it affecting their neighborhood, which is an interesting scene where everyone is ignoring a woman while she loses it in her front yard. The beast comes into play when B and Ginger decide to play a trick on a bully in school, Trina (Danielle Hampton). They’re going to kidnap her dog, then stage it to look like the beast got it. As they’re making their way, they come to a playground where a real dead dog is. They hear noises from the woods and something takes Ginger.
B goes after her and when she finally finds her, her sister is hurt badly with some deep gashes. The two of them flee and a local drug dealer, Sam (Kris Lemche) hits whatever is after them. B has a Polaroid camera that is now broke. She took a picture of whatever was after them. After pulling it out, it looks to be like a monstrous wolf.
Ginger also convinces her not to call 911 for her injuries. She is already feeling better and the next morning, they’re shocked to see the wounds healing. Changes come over her as she starts her period as well. Ginger isn’t thrilled at first but likes how she feels. B thinks it could be more and Sam agrees with her that it was a werewolf. These changes drive a wedge between the two girls and if they don’t cure Ginger fast, it could be bad for everyone.
That’s where I want to leave my recap and shift over to how I see this movie. First off, when I first saw the title, I thought of the cookie, but that doesn’t mean anything aside from a play on words. What I like here is learning one of main characters being named Ginger and seeing what she goes through. It is also fitting that she does eventually snap. I liked that quite a bit.
What I was shocked by was the real allegory behind the movie we’re getting here. I like that we have these two girls who for whatever reason are late on getting their periods. As I’m seeing this, I’m wondering if it is maybe something they’re doing that is preventing it, but neither want it. It is interesting that the attack on Ginger and the curse she is now inflicted with triggers hers to start. It makes you wonder if it did or if it is her attack.
This then becomes on an interesting look at her becoming a woman from there. B stands for her past and wanting to stay a child. She is rebelling against that by going after a boy she claimed to hate in Jason (Jesse Moss). He’s your typical tool of a high school guy. I’ll admit, I did see shades of myself in him, but he is ramped up higher to make the audience dislike him. Regardless though, Ginger is embracing her change and is starting to dress in a way to get more people to notice her. She even says in the movie that now she’s tasted this new feeling of people seeing her, she doesn’t want to give it up and go back to being just with B. This is a different type of coming of age and the dangers of popularity story.
What helps this though is the acting. Isabelle steals the show here for me. She is secondary to Perkins in the scheme of who we follow. I love that we see in the beginning she is all about her pact she made as a child to die at 16. I saw myself in Ginger in that, in school I decided to be different, before finally giving up and just dressing like everyone else. I’m not proud of it, but that is what happened. The moment she starts to feel empowered, she changed like I did. I liked how different she is in the beginning to the end and it shows range. With that said, I don’t mean that as a slight to Perkins. She did a good job as well in my opinion. She is mousey and she becomes the hero of the movie. She needs to find confidence to stand up to Ginger and help her.
Aside from the two leads, Rogers was solid as their mother. She has an interesting parenting style that I dig. She is there to help them if they need it, but for the most part she is going to let them figure things out and come to her for advice. She takes a good amount of grief from her daughters and will protect them no matter what. Lemche is an interesting character and I thought he was solid in support along with Moss. I know him from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. He plays an oddly similar character, but props to him for doing it well. He is an actor that gets a negative response for me, which is a positive for any sort of reaction. I’d say the rest of the cast rounds this out as well.
The only other thing I wanted to go over would be the creature effects. This has an interesting idea that they are doing for the werewolf. It seems from my understanding that it doesn’t change from creature to man and then back again. You don’t see that a lot in movies or other art. I don’t like it as much as I think we lose a bit of the human element to it as giving over completely to the beast. I can see why it was done for this movie though. Then again, we aren’t giving a lot of time with Ginger being turned so it could still be that happens, we just don’t necessarily know. I liked that they took it practical for sure. Aside from that, I do find it odd no one notices the more animalistic look to Ginger as she is changing. This is a slight nitpick I noticed. The blood in the movie looks good though and the cinematography was solid.
In conclusion, I dug this movie. Werewolf films are ones where I don’t feel like there are a lot of them and even less are good. This one has some interesting allegories in it about becoming a woman, dealing with their period and trying to fit in even when you say you don’t want to. I like using the werewolf curse as an interesting look at the coming-of-age aspects. The acting I thought was good from the leads and the support is solid. The effects are as well for the most part, I have minor nitpicks with them. Also, I have small things with the story that didn’t work. I feel this is a good movie. I would recommend this, especially if you like films with a deeper meaning or just want to see a different type of werewolf.
My Rating: 8 out of 10