Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ginger Snaps

Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald are sisters, incredibly close and fascinated with death. They are also complete outcasts at their school because of their weird attitudes and photo projects of their mock deaths. There have been a rash of neighborhood dogs being killed, so Brigitte decides to play a joke on a bitchy classmate (who shoved her into a dead dog). The plan goes awry when the creature killing the dogs attacks Ginger seconds after getting her first period. Ginger survives the attack. Her wounds immediately start to heal at a rapid pace. After the attack, Ginger's behavior changes drastically: she shows interest in boys, smokes pot, exhibits extreme mood swings, and starts to physically change. Brigitte watches her sister in disbelief and is convinced she's turning into a werewolf. Can she convince her sister and find a cure before it's too late?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I go through obsessions with books and movies. I will reread or -watch things I really enjoy repeatedly over a period of months sometimes. This is one of my obsessions. This film has just enough camp/cheese, suspense, and good story to be the perfect movie. I love the fresh take on werewolves. I usually seriously hate werewolves because it reduces good characters to competing in pissing contests in the pack and being extremely moody and annoying (see the Anita Blake series and the Twilight Saga). Women are generally not in positions of power in the pack and are treated as inferior or as property, which really makes me angry. This film, thankfully, has no werewolf pack and has a fresh interpretation of werewolves. The Hollywood vision of werewolves transforming at the full moon and being defeated by silver bullets is abandoned. The focus is on the transformation of a teenage girl into a werewolf in the span of a month, as an allegory for womanhood and growing up. The animalistic behavior represents the bodily urges of a young woman. She becomes a different person, as one should in a transition from childhood to adulthood. This is shown physically through her slow transformation into a wolf. Brigitte, since she is still a child, is completely terrified by the transformation. She tries everything she can to stop it, but the advancement in the cycle of life is inevitable.

The acting is great. The sisters are completely believable and creepily close at the outset of the film. I personally related to the girls. Who didn't feel isolated or misunderstood in high school? Katharine Isabelle, as Ginger, carries the film well in her change in mood and demeanor as the film progresses. The effects are surprisingly well done, despite being an indie film. There is a lot of blood and gore, plus the deaths of about 4 dogs. The director opted to use prosthetics and makeup to achieve Ginger's transformation which I think worked wonderfully. CGI would have looked way too fake and dated the film. The changes are at first understated not even recognized by the characters. It's not until later in the film that the viewer realizes that the small changes have added up and drastically changed her appearance. I liked that she looked oddly beautiful even in the late stages of her change.


The main musical theme is so hauntingly beautiful, featuring a cello in the melody. Similar themes in the movie are nice, but there are some laughably cheesy moments because of other musical motifs. I think the cheesier moments were intentionally poking fun at the teen horror genre. The climactic face-off at the end of the film between Brigitte and werewolf Ginger was so suspenseful. The first time I watched it, I couldn't look away and I was on the edge of my seat.

There really isn't anything I didn' t like about Ginger Snaps. One can definitely see its effect in recent cinema, especially in Teeth and (unfortunately) Jennifer's Body. I think Ginger Snaps is what Jennifer's Body really wanted to be, but failed miserably. I hope the tradition of gynocentric horror films continues.
**My rating: 10/10**

***You can download the Ginger Snaps theme from the composer's site. Right click on the Ginger Snaps banner on the bottom of the page and select "save link as."***
***Visit the film's official site here.***

23 comments:

Zombie Girrrl said...

Great review! I've never seen this movie (and, sadly, I likely never will because I don't rent movies or have netflicks. I wonder if my library has it...).
I especially like what you said about it being an allegory of growing up; I wouldn't have noticed that!

amanda18228 said...

This is a very good and thorough review. This movie sounds interesting.
amandarwest@gmail.com

vvb32 reads said...

sounds like a good one. you know i haven't really watched much werewolves in movies except for underworld. and you gave it a 10! hooey! definitely on my to-watch list.

E. Van Lowe said...

This movie sounds freaking awesome! I am beginning my hunt for it TODAY!

loreleimarsh said...

I have seen this movie on the shelves for a while and never tried it. I might just give it a shot now. Thanks for the info!!

throuthehaze said...

I loved this movie. It has been a long time since I have seen it :)

pepsivanilla said...

I've never seen this movie, but it sounds pretty good! I think a lot of people are like ugh werewolves since the whole Twilight thing, but this sounds good.

Fantastic Book Review said...

I'm a big movie buff too and I've watched all the movies in this series!

Triskaideka said...

Wow this sounds really amazing.

Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

Great review ! I'm not into gore scenes though...! But the way the "werewolf thing" is portayed sounds interesting.

ninefly said...

not very many films deal with female problems such as the period (in fact they seem to not affect hollywood heroines at all), so this does seem an incredibly novel take on the werewolf genre
thanks for the review!

Rachel said...

Wow, this sounds fantastic I am going to have to take a closer look at this =) Great review!

Aik said...

Thanks for the review! This movie sounds interesting! :)

Elie said...

This sounds good. I haven't seen too many werewolf flicks. I am going to add this one to my list. Thanks.

Misty said...

Someone else was telling me about this back during Helluva Halloween. Or maybe you were that someone...
Anywho, I told myself I was going to track it down, and then promptly forgot.
So...
I need to track this down.

Kristen said...

I seriously need to see this movie. Isn't there a second one too?

titania86 said...

Kristen, there are actually two more movies. The third is prequel and I really enjoyed it. I haven't seen the second one yet, but I heard it wasn't as good as the other two.

brizmus said...

Okay, so I've never even heard of this movie, but it sounds absolutely FANTASTIC! The sisters sound so creepy and interesting, and the music sounds as if it fits perfect for what the movie is. Definitely must see this!

Giada M said...

Thank you for this review! I haven't watched this movie, but it sounds great! I must see it soon!*-*

Beth said...

Cool review the movie looks awesome!

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Excellent review, especially as I didn't know much about Ginger Snaps beforehand - I think I'd really enjoy seeing this!!
I love the 'sister' concept, gives the plot a greater depth.

And, funny about the 'period' thing lol ... but that is the ONE thing that bugged me about Twilight (unless I missed it somewhere?), but wouldn't you have thought Bella's 'period' would have affected the Cullens???

Spav said...

Great review. I've never heard of this movie, so I'll have to check it out.

Horror Movie Medication said...

Great review. Personally, this movie didn't do it for me. I get that some people enjoy it because of the analogy to puberty and the unique female roles. But I watched this movie to see a horror werewolf movie and it did not deliver.

If you get the chance, you should check out my review. I can always use more feedback.

http://horrormoviemedication.blogspot.com/2013/03/ginger-snaps-werewolves-during-that.html