Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.
Is becoming a woman analogous, in some deep psychological way, to becoming a werewolf? Ginger is 16, edgy, tough, and, with her younger sister, into staging and photographing scenes of death. They've made a pact about dying together. In early October, on the night she has her first period, which is also the night of a full moon, a werewolf bites Ginger. Within a few days, some serious changes happen to her body and her temperament. Her sister Brigitte, 15, tries to find a cure with the help of Sam, a local doper. As Brigitte races against the clock, Halloween and another full moon approach, Ginger gets scarier, and it isn't just local dogs that begin to die.Written by
Along with their role as Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) Fitzgerald, the two actresses additionally portray sisters in the 2008 film "Another Cinderella Story". See more »
When Ginger and Brigitte go to visit Sam because he has an idea, he slams the door when Ginger and Brigitte come in. Then when you see Sam and Brigitte talking the door is open. Also when the door is slammed the hinge is on the left when they are talking the door is the other way round; if you were looking from the same view as when he slammed the door the hinge would be on the right. See more »
Ginger Snaps is kind of strange because it is, by definition, a teen horror movie, a genre which I have come to find is made up of almost exclusively awful movies. These are generally the stupid teen horror/sex comedies cranked out by Hollywood, but Ginger Snaps is able to escape that, with no help from the special effects department, by the way. The werewolf featured in the movie is an intricate piece of horror machinery, but it is immensely unconvincing. I have to admit that I had a hard time getting interested in the movie and often found myself checking how much time was left before it ended, but that is probably mostly because when I was watching it I still wanted to watch Bride of Chucky and Willard before going to bed.
The very beginning of the movie starts with a great montage of some impressive shots of a typical Canadian suburb, I suppose. A quiet, picturesque community in which we can expect some not so quiet or picturesque things will soon happen. It's not long before a mutilated dog is discovered, and its owner, an understandably frantic woman whose son found a piece of the dog in his sandbox, runs out front and screams that it got her dog. Evidently there is some wild beast running loose, and it's not long before Brigitte and Ginger, the movie's two disturbed and disturbing sisters, have a run-in with it.
We are introduced to a pair of sisters who live comfortably as outcasts in their school and neighborhood. Comfortably, of course, only because they each despise the majority of their classmates and other people, not because they enjoy their social status as outcasts. Ginger, played by Katharine Isabelle, may be more famous in America for her role in Freddy vs. Jason, and as horror fans surely you remember Emily Perkins, who plays Brigitte, from her role as Beverly Marsh in 'It.' Anyway, Perkins does a great job as the outcast disgusted with people in general, although her constant look of antipathy on a face always half covered with hair tends to get a little old. It's hard to accept as a protagonist someone who is constantly sneering at the world.
What I really liked about the movie was the way it tied in Ginger's transformation with the raging hormones that tend to impact the lives of teenagers at right about that time of life. Well, typically about three years earlier, but that's just another reason the girls reject close friendships with other people. Three years late with their menstruation and dressed in heavy, dark clothing complete with over-sized and untied Dr. Martens, knee-high black socks, dark plaid skirts and heavy black coats tends to be a combination that wins you no points with the cheerleader crowd. Thus it is more understandable why the two sisters have developed such a bond, which is unusually close even for twins (which they are not).
There is one point in the movie, after having been attacked, scratched and bitten, I think, by the neighborhood werewolf, Ginger starts to grow hair out of the huge claw-wounds on her shoulder, and in one scene finds herself talking to the school nurse, who explains to her about changes in her body, such as hair where there was no hair before. This is even further tied in with the girls' disgust with their own emerging sexuality, as Ginger's period equated with the disease she was given by the werewolf, referred to as 'the curse.' Given their attitudes about sexuality, it would seem that menstruation is being referred to, but in the context of the rest of the movie I would think that a disease that turns you into a hideous, hairless wolf would qualify for that title more than something as natural as menstruation.
Screenwriter Karen Walton clearly writes from the perspective of someone who has been through the turmoil of female development, since a man could never have written something as accurate as this movie. On the other hand, I have no idea what it's like for teenage girls during puberty, so I don't have much way of knowing how accurate the portrayal really is, but I knew a lot of girls in high school and these girls look and act a lot like the girls I knew did. Except for the whole fangs and blood thing. Oh and the pictures of fake suicides. I never knew anyone who was into that stuff all that much.
I remember when I was in high school I did have a femur pen exactly like the ones that Ginger and Brigitte both use in this movie. I used to use it to show people where I had broken mine when I was a kid. Snapped that ball at the top right off and it was no fun at all. I remember that my pen wrote in this weird purplish color and didn't write very well, as you can see briefly in one scene in the movie, but it was still a cool pen.
Clearly, since the movie spawned two sequels, which both came out in quick succession, there must be something good about it. I was not that impressed with the lycanthrope at the end of the movie, but I loved how much it was kept off screen for more than the first hour, just like Spielberg kept that shark out of Jaws completely for a good portion of the film. I like to think that, like Spielberg, director John Fawcett knew that he had something mediocre in the effects department, if only because a living, breathing, bleeding werewolf is not the easiest thing to come up with on what must have been a less than extensive budget.
It really is surprising that Ginger Snaps is able to deal almost exclusively with teens and their budding sexuality and not come off as another exploitive teen horror movie, but it succeeds because the movie is well written, directed, and performed by everyone involved. Also featured is a wonderful performance from Mimi Rogers, who, as the girls' mother, clearly remembers what it was like to go through what Ginger is going through, but just as clearly has no idea how to handle their outbursts (consider her reaction in the scene when Ginger screams at her to get out of the bathroom). I can't speak for the sequels yet, but this movie is worth a look.
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