Ginger Snaps (2000)

Posted: by Findlay

Ginger Snaps (2000); Directed by John Fawcett

In One Sentence: Teenage sexual awakening, Canadian werewolf style.

Why You Should Watch: Man, us horror film fans aren’t exactly showered in a wealth of amazing werewolf films are we? American Werewolf in London, Dog Soldiers, and this film, Ginger Snaps. A gen-x, turn of the century, gothy take on the time old tale of Lycanthropy and its clever as fuck to boot. This came out on DVD in 2002 just as our group of friends became big stinking goths and since then it’s been a big favourite.

The film focuses on two mid-teen, death-obsessed sisters, Bee (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) who totally hate the shitty small town they live in, even making a “death pact” if they don’t once they turn 16. After a late night attempt at pissing off the local bully, Ginger is attacked by something that’s killing the dogs in the area and ends up, slowly, changing into a werewolf.

I love a good set of opening titles and title card and Ginger Snaps’ sets the film up perfectly. A collage of polaroids of the girls faking their own deaths lets the macabre and weirdly funny tone sit nicely.

The films obvious core themes are a puberty and female teenage sexual awakening in a perfectly metered script by Karen Walton. The comparisons to being a werewolf and hitting puberty are hit so naturally that it feels like that’s what the lore was created for. Ginger calls her period “the curse” for instance, while feeling helpless and scared by her “transformation” she also feels liberated from her unchanged sister, who just wants the old Ginger back. Sexuality plays a big part in the film aswell (it is high school after all) with the teenage boys lusting after Ginger, not knowing her sexuality comes at a price for them. Their lives.

The film has this unappreciated depth that doesn’t get acknowledged as much as it should, and it just likes to throw clever wee subtle images that fortify the plots themes, like a part where a character is killed in a kitchen, and the blood mixes with spilt milk. Now it doesn’t mean anything directly but it does reflect back to sexual images of blood and semen. The script also has masses of depth, especially with how useless adults are (basically ignoring and being blissfully unaware of every single thing that’s happening) or mentioning how teen girls are viewed by society (“A girl can only be a slut, a bitch, a tease, or the virgin next door”).

The film didn’t need to do this, but it show lovingly invested Fawcett was when he was making it. And considering I’m not a teenage girl, nor will I ever be, the characters are so relatable and written with care that I feel what their going through.

Now the blood. The film is pretty bloody, but it has to be, right? Right. Blood is nearly in every scene, be it dead animals, dead people, fake blood, or actual period blood, this thing is a bloody, and pretty gory affair, with the kills and payoffs as satisfying as you’d imagine.

There’s something about the film stock used in the ’96-’02 slasher revival that just sets my brain on fire. I love it. Everything looks so perfectly preserved and Halloweeny (when the films set, mind you) and Ginger Snaps is no exception. It just looks so of-its-time and irreplaceable.

So aye, Ginger Snaps is a bold, snarky, deep beaut of a cult film that is full of great writing, macabre humor and Katharine Isabelle being a stone cold babe.

I could talk about it for hours.

Favourite Line: “I get this ache… And I, I thought it was for sex, but it’s to tear everything to fucking pieces.”

– Findlay –