Thursday, March 11, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps is not only my favourite werewolf flick, it's one of my favourite horror films period. I watched it for the first time - and have watched it a dozen times since - when I was in Grade 10 and I could definitely relate to the characters, sort of being an outcast myself.

Sisters Ginger and Brigitte have a twisted relationship. They're obsessed with death and have a suicide pact - "Out by sixteen or dead on the scene, but together forever." Meanwhile, a wild animal is ripping dogs to pieces. The girls take this as an opportunity to get back at a popular classmate by tricking her into thinking her beloved dog is dead. While they're scooping up the carcass of a freshly slaughtered dog, a werewolf attacks Ginger. She's okay, but afterward she sprouts hair in funny places and has an insatiable craving for...something.... Ginger attributes these changes to the fact that Aunt Flo has visited her for the first time, but quickly realizes there's something wrong with her when she grows a tail.

The plot of Ginger Snaps is a unique spin on the werewolf tale, using becoming a werewolf as a metaphor for getting your period. I like how instead of just changing into a werewolf when the moon is full, Ginger gradually becomes one. She grows claws, a tail, sharp teeth, etc., slowly evolving into a werewolf and then turns into a full-fledged animal during the full moon.

Ginger doesn't kill many people, but the few murders are fairly gory. There's also tons of blood and guts shown from the several dead dogs in the neighbourhood. The girls' morbid art project, shown during the opening credits, of photos depicting them dead in several creative ways is my favourite gore scene of the film. It shows you right away what kind of fun film Ginger Snaps will be. In a special feature on the Collector's Edition of the DVD, they show all the photos.

Despite the gore and death-obsessed sisters, the film manages to be quite funny. It had me laughing several times.

As I already mentioned, when I first saw this film, I really related to the characters and I still do, to some extent. The characters are all realistic, flawed, interesting people with real issues (besides the whole turning into a werewolf thing), instead of the usual boring stereotypes so often shown in horror flicks. Ginger and Brigitte are easily two of the most interesting characters I've ever seen in any film, not just horror.

The performances in Ginger Snaps is one of the best aspects of the film. I have become a huge fan of Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle since I saw their superb acting abilities displayed in this movie. They're sort of scream queens too. One of Emily Perkins' first roles was in Stephen King's It as Beverly Marsh at age 12. Most recently she has played the fan girl who is obsessed with the Winchester brothers in Supernatural. Katharine Isabelle has also been in a few episodes of Supernatural and appeared in Disturbing Behavior, the made-for-TV Carrie remake, Freddy vs. Jason and Ogre. And sexy Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3) is great as the local drug dealer/ lycanthrope enthusiast.

The Collector's Edition of the DVD has a ton of Special Features, including cast auditions, rehearsals, trailers, the making of the werewolf, cast and crew bios, deleted scenes, photos of the girls' school project (as I already mentioned) and artwork they designed for the film (logos, town maps, etc.).

Ginger Snaps is more than just a werewolf film. It's also a dark comedy, a film about the bond sisters share and a story about growing up. Definitely a must-see.

Rating: 5/5

8 comments:

Will Errickson said...

Could not agree more! You capture just what's so great about Ginger Snaps. So cool to *not* see more CGI but an actual werewolf suit! I watched this with a group of friends when it came out on DVD and we were blown away. We'd sort of given up on modern horror movies and this one definitely got me paying attention to the genre seriously again. I haven't seen it in ages because I'm afraid it won't hold up to my memories! The sequels, alas, I was not so taken with.

Sadako said...

LOVE this movie. And I agree, Will, that it is nice to see something not CGI. Gives it more of a real, earthy feel.

I also liked the new take on it, and the whole menstruation parallel.

Don't forget Katharine Isabelle was in another great scream queen role--she was in Goosebumps, the ep it came from beneath the sink!

Melissa Helwig said...

You should watch it again! And yeah, I didn't like the sequels much either.

Oh yeah! I noticed that Katharine Isabelle was in Goosebumps when I was looking at her imdb page and was going to include that but I forgot. Kris Lemche was in an episode too - The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.

Sadako said...

I actually liked the first sequel, Unleashed, but it had a lot of things in it that appealed to me...the whole kind of staving off werewolfism as drug addiction type thing...anyway.

Wow, Kris Lemche was in Scarecrow?! That makes me irrationally excited. I had a HUGE crush on his character. I also saw Scarecrow Walks at Midnight a few months ago but didn't make the connection. I know it's lame but I love Goosebumps/Are You Afraid of the Dark. Love them the way some ppl like old horror b movies. Thanks for letting me know!

Blogger Beware Lover said...

Who is Kris Lemche?

Anyway,not surprised that chick was on Goosebumps. Stine probably wrote ICFBTS with her in mind for the role.

Goosebumps also had other notable actors:Hayden Christensen,Ryan Goseling,Even Fucking ADAM WEST.

And let's not forgot Aron Tager AKA Dr.Vink in Piano Lesson Can Be Murder!

Sadako said...

Ooh, loved Dr. Vink.

Kris Lemche played Sam, the cute guy who tries to help Ginger and Bridget with the werewolf problem, in Ginger Snaps.

Starmummy said...

I need to see this movie. Great review and nice site!

Melissa Helwig said...

Thanks Starmummy. You should definitely check out Ginger Snaps.