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Overall Rating
4.34

Awesome59.15%
Worth A Look: 25.35%
Average: 8.45%
Pretty Bad: 4.23%
Total Crap: 2.82%

4 reviews, 47 user ratings


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Ginger Snaps
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by Mel Valentin

"Easily one of the best horror films of the last ten years."
5 stars

"Ginger Snaps," co-written by John Fawcett and Karen Walton (and directed by Fawcett), proves to be a surprisingly inventive, always entertaining mix of apparently disparate sub-genres, the werewolf and suburban teen angst sub-genres (think of it as "Heathers" mixed with "An American Werewolf in London" and you’ll get a reasonably good idea as to what to expect from "Ginger Snaps") succeeds on almost every level: character, plot, and yes, blood and gore (for those viewers with a voyeuristic predisposition of having visceral jolts accompanied by buckets of fake blood and full-on makeup effects depicting the aftereffects of a werewolf attack). "Ginger Snaps" has only two noticeable flaws, a predictable stalk-and-chase third-act that fails to match the virtuosity of the first two acts and sub-par, risible werewolf effects sadly attributable to a low budget.

Ginger Snaps opens with an inventive credits sequence, a montage of photographs the girls have taken of themselves in faked death poses (most of them violent and bloody), that draws us into the world of two death obsessed (read: goth), marginalized teenage sisters, Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katherine Isabelle, whose other horror/genre credits include a pivotal role as a nubile, sexually active teen in Freddy vs. Jason, a forgettable TV-remake of Carrie, and the better receivedInsomnia remake). The girls live in an insular, tense, neurotic relationship, and for the more socially awkward of the two, Brigitte, a fear of being abandoned by her more attractive, extroverted sister. In several brief but telling scenes, the audience is introduced to the girls' oppressive world, both at home, where her creepily indifferent parents are in deep denial both about the problems in their marriage and in their daughters’ incomplete social adjustment with their peer groups, and no surprise, at school, where the sisters are marked as put-upon outcasts, targets for the casual contempt and mistreatment by the popular girls.

All of the preceding is background or context (or, if you prefer, “table setting”) for the first major plot turn: with dogs being killed and mutilated in their neighborhood, the girls venture into the woods, Red Riding Hood-style, and encounter a werewolf, who bites Ginger. The bite and the inevitable transformation into a werewolf are paralleled with Ginger’s first, belated menstruation cycle, which, unsurprisingly, the sisters refer to as the “curse” (the sisters learning the true meaning of the word only later in the film). From there, Ginger Snaps begins to ratchet up the tension, as Ginger’s transformation changes her at first in small, if obvious ways (e.g., white streaks in her hair, sexual aggressiveness) and Brigitte, desperate to save her sister from the werewolf curse, attempts to find a way to undo or slow the transformation, with the next full moon only days away.

Besides the clever, literate storyline and sharp, mordant dialogue, there’s much more to recommend Ginger Snaps to genre and non-genre fans alike. Mimi Rogers delivers a surprisingly solid performance as the (mostly) clueless suburban mother who turns fiercely protective as the consequences of Ginger’s transformation begin to intrude in her tidy, orderly life. The black humor in Ginger Snaps stretches from the dialogue and plot turns to the visual representations of the girls’ fears and anxieties related to the side-effects of the “curse.” For example, in one early, post-bite scene, Brigitte and Ginger race into the local pharmacy, only to encounter a daunting wall of tampons. In another scene, the school nurse's deadpan description of the painfully sounding physical changes that occur with menstruation will make viewers uncomfortable, even as they laugh. Ginger’s physical changes are also treated with a mix of horror and black comedy (e.g., the emergence of a prehensile tail, Ginger’s hairy legs, apparently immune to a regular razor). Other memorable scenes deftly mix revulsion and laughter

On the negative side, the performances in the early scenes come off as awkward with the actors appearing uncomfortable as they deliver the faux-Heathers dialogue. Fawcett also mishandles the initial encounter with the werewolf in the woods. The encounter is poorly staged with the girls escaping multiple times with relative ease. In addition, the werewolf makeup effects are, to be blunt, laughable, even if they’re preferably to the other alternative, using CGI for the transformation scenes and the werewolf itself. Fawcett seems more than aware of this problem, often choosing to hide the werewolf in low light or behind large objects, revealing the full werewolf only when absolutely necessary, as in the climax. As a side note, the transformation scene in John Landis’ American Werewolf in London, with Rick Baker handling the pre-digital makeup effects, remains the standard for horror films (with Rob Bottin’s contemporaneous work for Joe Dante’s The Howling a close second.

Overall, "Ginger Snap's" positives more than make up for its minor flaws, and, over time, the words “cult” and “classic” mentioned will be likely mention in the same sentence with the film’s title. Viewers who find "Ginger Snaps" to their liking can look forward to two more entries in the series, "Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed," an ambitious, if inferior sequel and "Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning," a prequel to the other two films, set in the 19th century in the Canadian wilderness, with Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle back playing sisters named Brigitte and Ginger, respectively.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5761&reviewer=402
originally posted: 09/04/05 15:13:03
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User Comments

8/07/14 David Hollingsworth one of the best horror films I've ever seen. 5 stars
5/13/14 Roadhermit Cheap, gratuitous violence against dogs ruins what could have been a good movie 2 stars
6/07/13 David Hollingsworth Clever, unpredictable, and grisly. A near perfect horror film. 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name The screenwriters manages to dull any cleverness they conjure up through elaboration. 2 stars
1/25/10 art it's A fable about TWO doper's! 1 1 stars
7/05/09 Beau Everything about this movie and its sequel worked really well. 5 stars
1/20/09 Camilo Espinoza Best werewolf movie since An American Werewolf in London 5 stars
9/28/08 Shaun Wallner I really enjoyed this film. 5 stars
4/27/07 William Goss Clever concept runs out of steam, budget at about the same time. 3 stars
8/29/06 K.Sear One of the most perfect horror films ever made. Smart, sick and honest. 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Ya'll are insane! It was as gratuitious& perposterous as American Werewolf in paris,CHEESEY 1 stars
6/05/06 mary Great movie,really gory. 5 stars
5/17/06 Sinead As a touching charactor movie with strong women its great.Not a good werewolf movie though. 5 stars
4/26/06 greyhound where can i get the credits rock version of the theme tune? 5 stars
4/04/06 Mike I love this movie,plus the 2nd,but the 3rd,was nothing like the 1st and 2nd ones. 3 stars
3/24/06 Dethbyhashi Chick Werewolves... How amazing!!!! 5 stars
11/27/05 cr a pretty slick werewolf flick ,good acting,good visual effects,but sad ending 3 stars
8/18/05 ES Good movie, with a bit more for FX the end would have been better 4 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK Seek out the Canadian DVD to sub for the American travesty. Fantastic horror movie. 5 stars
11/06/04 Me DEFINETLY BETTER THAN DOG SOLDIERS you stupid retard. That movie sucked balls. 5 stars
8/27/04 American Slasher Goddess Well written with good acting, one of the best werewolf flicks in a long time. 4 stars
7/07/04 Joseph Barale Average horrormovie 3 stars
6/22/04 Sean Great movie, very clever, impossible to predict. 5 stars
6/03/04 Mr. me good, but it's no Dog Soldiers!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
5/17/04 jess its a brilliant film and i hope to see more of it! 5 stars
2/13/04 Kai A fabulous FILM (not just horror film). One of my top 10 easily. 5 stars
2/09/04 Kyle Fucking awesome. 5 stars
2/02/04 Mark This movie is awesome also watch the sequel and a prequel is in the works. 5 stars
1/20/04 Kandy† I loved this kick as* movie!!!!! 5 stars
1/14/04 kim harding i liked it 5 stars
1/05/04 cwlg420 The movie itself wasn't all that bad, well worth the time just to stare at Kris Lemche 4 stars
12/25/03 Moxie This is definitally different. I can relate to those girls. Great movie. 5 stars
12/13/03 darkofnight A heartbreaking, brutal, and pulse-bounding horror film. 5 stars
10/14/03 Erik Van Sant The 3rd best werewolf movie ever made after Howling and American Werewolf in London. 5 stars
9/18/03 larry Eh 3 stars
8/24/03 Hank pretty crappy 2 stars
8/21/03 Lex Esau Morbid, Suicidal,Gruesume,Humorous=Ginger Snaps.My Fav movie of all time, I love this movie 5 stars
5/18/03 phil not bad, but could have been better 4 stars
1/26/03 Lord David sorta anti-estab like a gothy Heathers... 4 stars
10/01/02 Danielle Ophelia God, what a find! Inspired my 10,000,000th screen name, no less. 4 stars
6/18/02 Roy Smith Canadian Werewolf good as American Werewolf. Great acting! 4 stars
6/02/02 sdjfsdkjf loved it but the ending pissed me off 4 stars
5/29/02 Cat Great new spin on werewolf film, definate rent for those who can take it 4 stars
5/20/02 The Bomb 69 ending tailed off but the first half was kick ass!!! 4 stars
4/14/02 Keith Best werewolf movie in 20 years. The Canadian CE DVD is great. 4 stars
3/11/02 Basil One of my favorite movies 5 stars
2/12/02 Jim Off-the-wall werewolf film that starts off ironic and gets more and more disturbing 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Oct-2001 (R)

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