Halloween Review– Ginger Snaps

They don’t call it the curse for nothing.
Tagline, Ginger Snaps

Back in Februrary, I had unkind words for Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed, the first of a batch of Ginger Snaps sequels. The original‘s best moments, however, make it must-see lycanthrope viewing. Witty, funhouse-scary, and extremely bloody, Ginger Snaps takes I was a Teenage Werewolf far beyond the comfortable horrors of the 1950s drive-in.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: John Fawcett
Writers: Karen Walton, John Fawcett.

Features: Emily Perkins…Beatrice
Katherine Isabelle…Ginger
Kris Lemche…Sam
Mimi Rogers…Pamala Fitzgerald
Jesse Moss…Jason McCarty
Danielle Hampton…Trina

Available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


GINGER: You know what? You’re right… Maybe I do see a monster. Yeah… It’s got these little green eyes…

BRIGITTE: Oh right. Like I really wish I was hairy and haemorrhaging and sucking off Jason McCarty.

Two goth sisters’ lives change when they encounter the Beast of Bailey Downs, a wild animal that has been killing local pets. As this is a horror movie, the beast turns out to be a werewolf, and it snaps a piece of Ginger before dying. That same night, Ginger gets her first period. Over the course of the month, Ginger transforms. We’re left to wonder if she’s becoming a monster or merely a teenager and to contemplate which is actually scarier.

High Point:

“You don’t have anything I haven’t seen before.”
–Mrs. Fitzgerald

The film contains many extraordinary moments, and genuinely creepy juxtapositions of suburbia with other horrors. Walton and Fawcett bleed the adolescence/menstruation/lycanthropy parallels; a conversation with a helpful school nurse on Ginger’s transformation no doubt resonates with every teen who has believed that, no, adults don’t really understand.

Low Point:

The ending becomes overly tortured and a little too conventional. In addition, the full werewolf effect is not terribly convincing.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 This plays like a superior episode of Buffy, edgier than tv would permit. It gives us adolescent angst refracted through horror-movie cliche, and a fairly original take on the werewolf tale.

Effects: 4/6 During Ginger’s transformation, the effects and make-up work well. Her final werewolf form is less than convincing.

Story: 4/6:

Acting: 6/6: Both Isabelle and Perkins turn in riveting performances; many ordinary teen movies do not permit their characters’ relationships to develop so convincingly. Mimi Rogers plays her role as a June Cleaverseque mom with frightening perfection; suburbia may be the scariest monster of all.

Production: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 Most frights are of the funhouse variety typical of monster movies, rather than truly unsettling horror, but the film gives us a good many other things to enjoy– or be unsettled by.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, Ginger Snaps receives 33/42.

Additional Comments

The collector’s edition DVD includes commentary, deleted sequences, auditions, rehearsal footage, interviews, Ginger and Brigette’s project from the movie’s opening, trailers, and more.

Variations of the film exist on DVD and VHS; the Collector’s Edition and the Canadian release feature the movie as originally released, and with the original and– IMHO– superior poster art (follow the Amazon.com and Amazon.ca links above to see both).

A variation of my review first appeared at www.everything2.com

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