“Ginger! You’re ovulating!”
The Scoop: 2000 NR, directed by John Fawcett and starring Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, and Mimi Rogers
Tagline: Ginger Snaps…. AND Bites
Summary Capsule: Two girls face werewolf shagginess in this horror coming-of-age story
Clare’s review: I think this movie was made just so that we at the Mutant Reviewers could root it out, watch it and review it. It’s high quality but has a low budget, had no theater release or major studio push, is a horror movie finding new life on video and was shot entirely in Canada. Hello?
Ginger Snaps tells the story of two sisters, Ginger and Brigitte, who love one another and hate pretty much everything else. They live in the suburbs in one of those planned community nightmares where everyone’s house looks exactly like their neighbor’s and absolutely nothing interesting ever happens. That is until one night when Ginger finally gets her period for the first time and then unceremoniously gets attacked by a werewolf. Everything about Ginger soon begins to change and it’s up to Brigitte to decipher her sister’s strange new behavior. Puberty is marked by sudden mood swings and new hair growth, but something tells Brigitte her sister’s added insistence on ripping the neighbor dogs limb from limb might be indicative of an entirely different kind of problem.
Ginger Snaps is part horror, part thriller, part love story (I have a sister, I know how these things can be) and all way more interesting than other recent horror films that got huge theatrical releases and still managed to totally suck.
This is the kind of movie cult fans wake up in the middle of the night dreaming of. Do your Mutant duty and go check this one out.
Justin’s rating: I’m the guy who’s O.K. with menstruation! (apologies to the Kids in the Hall sketch)
Justin’s review: What Clare glossed over in her review is that Ginger Snaps isn’t exactly a werewolf movie — it’s a menstruation movie. Yes, our favorite topic! Not since the opening scenes of Carrie has menstruation in horror movies been given such deft treatment (not to mention copious amounts of screen time devoted to watching blood flow and drip and whatnot). I’d sum up the first half of the movie with the phrase, “can we please talk about menstruation some more?”
Listen, I know it’s one of those things that all women go through and guys are supposed to be sympathetic to and appreciative of, but it’s also not something the guy community wants to learn a heckuva lot more about either. Buy your tampons (or those thingies with wings), down some Advil, and let us know when the time comes so we can weather female wrath and rub your backs for you. That’s all. I’m not being cold or mean, just honest.
So this is to say that if you’re a girl watching Ginger Snaps, you might really like the metaphor that ties both menstruation and werewolf bites together, and be able to not be majorly grossed out by anything that happens here. If you’re a guy watching Ginger Snaps, well, I’ve been there. I survived. At least they didn’t throw in anything about yeast infection, so count your blessings.
Our lead girls Ginger and Brigitte (or “B” as her sister calls her) have only three things in common: they’re sisters, they’re into serious macabre topics, and both have not had their periods yet. Ginger’s the pretty, fiesty one; Brigitte is the plain, smart, face-constantly-downcast one. The movie begins with both girls discussing suicide, then staging a class slide show were they take very explicit pictures of both of them faking their deaths (there was a lawnmower in there, somewhere). Their world is one of those Heathers, Doom Generation worlds where everyone except for them are complete losers, and everyone including them likes to swear and smoke a lot. Whether this is an accurate portrayal of high school life or an angst-injected version is up to you.
When Ginger gets her first period (unfortunately, they show, not tell), a werewolf gives her the friendly nibble and she starts growing hair in unfortunate places and develops a desire to rend and kill. As Ginger begins to lose it, big-time, little sister B is there to figure out what’s happening and what needs to be done. Brigitte’s loyalty and perseverance under extreme stress kept me interested in this film; she tries hard to save the world from Ginger as she’s trying to save Ginger herself.
As a werewolf horror movie, we haven’t personally seen this much blood and disassociated body parts strewn about (lot of them dogs’) since… maybe Dead Alive. It’s got a couple of jumps, a lot of mounting dread, and plenty of “Ohhhh, grossssss!” scenes as things are (or aren’t) revealed. As a teenage girl metaphor for growing up, I suppose it makes some sort of twisted sense. Bodies changing, wacky emotions, new desires. At first Brigitte is envious of Ginger developing faster, but soon envy is turned to fear. Ginger is newly empowered and incredibly freaky at the same time.
The humor in this film comes out often in the darkest of moments — neither of these girls are on top of it all, but they never lose the opportunity to quip when the weird starts to happen. The ending, however, takes most of the joy (well, at least humor) out of the movie, and really just drags out the inevitable. I have no complete judgement on Ginger Snaps. It’s good, really good, at what it sets out to do… but my tastes in werewolves maybe lie more toward the American variety. In London.
- Ginger Snaps was shot entirely in Ontario, Canada (Brampton, Markham, Mississauga and Toronto if you really MUST know)
- Mimi Rogers with a seriously bad case of 80’s hair
- B doing her research by watching werewolf horror movies and taking notes – smart!
- The little nubbins tail on Ginger… awww, cute!
- Ginger wailing on the evil girl. Yes!
- Trade in your silver bullets for a silver navel piercing
- Liquids turning from one type to another as they flow (pee into blood, milk into blood)
- Bodies freeze really fast in garage freezers
- Ginger’s attitude, sexual appetite and violent tendencies reminded me a lot of Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not to mention Ginger calling Brigitte “B” all the time (what Faith called Buffy)
- Yet another movie that states that drug dealers are basically good people once you get past their day job
- Lycanthrope = werewolf
Brigitte: Are you *sure* it’s just cramps?
Ginger: Just so you know, the words “just” and “cramps”, they don’t go together.
Brigitte: Ginger. A word?
Ginger: Is it ‘sorry’?
Ginger: Think she’s pretty?
Brigitte: If I wasn’t here would you eat her?
Ginger: Out by sixteen or dead in this scene but together forever. Together forever.
Brigitte: United against life as we know it.
Ginger: I’ve killed their pets B, and the only thing that helps is to tear live things to pieces. I can’t live like this!
Ginger: I hate our gene pool.
Mom: Girls, I told you, no more deaths in the house!
Ginger: Don’t be mad, it’s for extra credit.
[as Ginger walks away with a guy]
Brigitte: Ginger! You’re ovulating!
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