Ginger Snaps

Release date: May 1, 2001

Director: John Fawcett

Cast: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois and Peter Keleghan

Ginger Snaps is one of those rare independent horror films that some times pop up to snap at your feet. One of those movies that you never really expect to be good at all, but as soon as you sit down to watch it, they grab you by the throat and shake and tear at you until your forced to enjoy it.

Any werewolf film that is made ever has to stand in comparison to An American Werewolf in London(the ultimate werewolf film). What made that film so great was the darkly humorous horror of watching a man know that he was turning into a monster. The human fear of changing to animal state. It was a convention I was hoping to see in Ginger Snaps (especially as it was from the original viewpoint of two teenage sisters) and I am happy to say Ginger Snaps delivered. The opening sequence of the movie is one of the best seen since the film Seven as it introduces the two main characters staging their own faked deaths and taking grisly photographs of each other. Emily Perkins (Brigitte) and Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) are the perfect cast as the two girls on the brink of puberty. They manage to convince as the two sisters who are forever bound to one another, but when Ginger finally receives her first menstruation, we know things are going to change

There is also a heavy use of dogs as symbolism in this film as well, a dog dies in the first scene, Brigitte falls on a dead dog in a hockey game so it is no surprise when the werewolf attack finally is shown as the girls find a dead dog searching the woods late at night. Shocking though the attack is, it’s the after-affect that really hits home, not only in the physical sense, but also as Ginger’s personality changes more and more throught the film, forcing a split with her sister.

There are also plenty of original moments in the movie, Ginger trying to hide a tail that has started to grow from her back, frozen fingers are found in their back yard.

However after the extremely good staged opening, the film follows into too many typical Hollywood clichés. All too conveniently there is the rebel hunk nearby acting as a possible love-interest/hero (who also happens to know about growing the werewolf cure – Monkswood). Throw in a party on Halloween, underdeveloped "typical US school" kid characters, and the movie starts to feel too familiar and typical.

Thankfully it saves itself in the last ten minutes or so, as it leads to a decent ending. A good well made film then, that manages to keep a lot if its independence and originality, but a little disappointing after such a bold and unique opening.

Overall a great independent original film that makes it into the top 50.

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