This Canadian flick has been on my to-do list for quite some time. I remember seeing the cover art on the VHS or DVD at Blockbuster and not having any interest in it. The incredibly unimaginative tagline, the cheesy half-wolf girl in the background, and the leering goth teens on the cover were not good signs. Still, I would continue to hear good things about Ginger Snaps from the occasional horror fan. I’ve been encouraged to watch it so many times that it’s a wonder it has taken me nine years to see it.
It's so hard being beautiful...
I was stuck with the bland “Meh” reaction after sitting through its stretched 108 minute runtime. It’s decent enough, but lacks any sort of punch. The opening credit sequence established a creepy tone and introduced us to the twisted Fitzgerald sisters. In some ways, I thought the film was pretty bold. Not only were the two female leads photographing themselves in bloody death poses within the first ten minutes, but they were not dressed up to be eye candy as expected (at least not yet). Ginger is the pretty, older sister or the Marsha of the family, while Brigitte is more like Jane. She’s quite plain—more plain than you’d ever expect to see from a final girl. So I appreciated the Fitzgerald sisters in contrast to the I Know What You Did Last Summer’s and Urban Legend’s that were being released around the same time.
In Canada, Kurt Cobain was still alive in 2000.
Ginger Snaps is a coming of age, sibling rivalry movie with some werewolf stuff thrown in every twenty minutes. I was disappointed by how little werewolf action there was and when things did happen, it was mostly off screen. Come on guys. You can’t tease me with lycanthropes and not deliver on some juicy kills. What a shame. The best scene involving a werewolf is the one in which Ginger is first bitten and Brigitte scrambles after her screaming sister in the woods. It’s shot with intensity and doesn’t reveal too much of the beast. The performances are also top-notch. In fact, I might even venture to say it’s the standout scene of the entire film…which is unfortunate.
While the non-canine drama is occurring, it’s mostly pretty good. The film does a great job of establishing the sisters’ mutual and even unhealthy dependency on one another. We understand why Brigitte doesn’t turn her back on Ginger, as she slowly transforms into a murdering, hungry beast. Along the way, there’s some nice comedic relief about high school and teenage girl angst, which may not be as funny to male audiences. It’s actually quite interesting how similar this film is to Jennifer’s Body. It’s almost the same setup, except they are sisters instead of friends and Ginger Snaps has a more somber tone. Jennifer’s Body is a poppy version of the story where a beautiful high school girl is transformed into a sexed up creature that craves blood, while her female companion is taken advantage of as the less attractive girl.
Haven't I seen this before?
Although it’s not great, I still lay out a welcome mat for Ginger Snaps into the lonely werewolf genre. There’s just not enough films to fill out the subgenre, so we gotta’ take what we can get I guess. The technical elements are all there, particularly in terms of performances and cinematography, but it’s not a cinematic experience that will blow your socks off by any means. In the end, I enjoyed the movie and probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was shorter.