Werewolf movies have all the potential in the world to go wrong. If they don’t do something original with the creature, if they take themselves too seriously, if the transformation isn’t quality (and shown), if the beast itself looks cheap; all of these factors can weigh the picture down if they aren’t exectued right. and that’s on top of all the other, typical, facets of the film. So Ginger Snaps has a lot resting on its shoulders, because it’s also a coming of age flick. Good news: it’s a really, really great werewolf movie. This isn’t news to fans of the genre. We’ve been touting the film since its release, and it’s one I’ve revisited many times. Somehow though, this movie failed to gain mainstream traction, which is a real shame. Any horror fan, casual or devoted, should see it.
The story follows two strange and unusual sisters, Brigitte and Ginger, who are attached at the hip. They’re at a difficult pubescent stange, made all the worse when Ginger is attacked by an unknown creature. She soon finds herself growing a tail, sprouting coarse hair, and filled with the desire to tear things apart. Of course, her awkward but loyal sister is there to help. The two have made a pact to die together and Brigitte intends to keep it. Their devotion is well developed and believable, in part because the pacing of this film is just right. We get the right amount of time with the sisters before the attack and change. We get the right amount of transformation, seeing Ginger change and yet still try to cling on to her identity. The big bad itself gets significant screen time in the final act, with very limited cut aways to hide the effects. The werewolf looks great after all, so why would you want to hide it? A lot of work went into the crafting this creature, combining an actual suit with animatronic expression in the eyes and mouth. This wolf also has a distinctive appearance; a bit more fleshy than hairy, and pale skinned. Definitely not like any other werewolf you’ve seen.
Of course, all of this would have been for none had it not been for the performances of Emily Perkins (Brigitte) and Katherin Isabelle (Ginger). The two are totally believable as sisters, and embody two ends of the adolescent female spectrum. Brigitte is pre-pubescent and incredibly awkward. She does anything Ginger tells her too, which isn’t surprising because Ginger is older, pretty, and abrasive. This isn’t to say Ginger’s affection for her sister isn’t genuine, however. She’s incredibly protective, even once her wolfiness starts to set in. I must also admit, Katherine Isabelle is really adorable.
Challenge Fulfilled: Twenty-Aught Horror