Ginger Snaps (2000)

Thegingersnapsfilmposter.jpgDirector: John Fawcett
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Rating: 18
Starring: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, Peter Keleghan, Christopher Redman, Jimmy MacInnis, Lindsay Leese, Wendii Fulford

Cinema can often be guilty of reusing the same old ideas, and horror cinema especially has been met with such criticisms. When it comes to creatures which been used countless times, for decades on end, the question becomes how to rejuvenate something so overly familiar. One method is to take on new perspectives, by opening up the storytelling opportunities to a more diverse pool of voices.

Director John Fawcett knew he wanted to make a metamorphosis movie starring young women, so approached Karen Walton to write the screenplay, intent on reinterpreting the genre. Through making a story about everyday people, and how the horror was felt in real problems, audiences were left with a refreshing take on werewolves.

Teen sisters Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald (Emily Perkins & Katharine Isabelle) are co-dependent sisters, fascinated with death, and considered outcasts by their peers. As the pair intend to pull a prank on a classmate, Ginger is savagely attacked by a wild creature. She survives the ordeal, but her wounds miraculously healing is only the beginning. As Ginger goes through changes with her body and her temperament, Brigitte is convinced she's turning into a werewolf.

When you think of werewolves, what depiction in the media comes to your mind? Chances are, you think of the astounding transformation sequence in An American Werewolf In London, released 19 years prior. A sequence brought alive by Rick Baker's make-up effects, and John Landis' direction, which captured the utter pain and torment a lycanthrope transformation has upon the inflicted. It's a phenomenal example of body horror, and marries up well with the ultimate example of body horror; puberty. We all relate to the everyday examples presented, such as bodily changes and mood swings, but they're exacerbated by the supernatural elements, and fit together like jigsaw pieces. The best example occurs early on, when Ginger experiences her first period, only to then be attacked by a werewolf. It's a bitter cherry on top of an unwanted sundae.

Core to it all are Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle, playing the Fitzgerald sisters. They share a morbid streak, as they've held a suicide pact since childhood, and spend their time concocting gruesome scenarios, in which they can pose as corpses in. Their close bond is sold very well, so when the changes come around, we feel for how it impacts the pair. As Ginger goes down new paths, with a reckless attitude, Brigitte is understandably lost, and the cast members convey these so very well. A special mention is deserved for Mimi Rogers, wonderfully playing the girls mother, ready to help them out however possible.

As much as I adored the picture, a couple of issues stuck out at me. In regards to the mythology, one major development occurs, and promises something interesting which I didn't feel was delivered upon. It's a shame, but due to how quickly it's resolved, along with it's little impact, this aspect may as well have been taken out. There's also Sam, an interesting character who helps Brigitte understand what's happening with her sister. One notable element is brought up about his character, hinting at a different side to him, but it's forgotten about as soon as it's said. In spite of these moments, the end product is a fantastic example of taking something so familiar, and making it feel like a breath of fresh air.