Ginger Snaps - Under Appreciated and Underrated

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Ginger Snaps is an under appreciated indie horror movie

Despite a lot of positive reviews upon release in 2000, Ginger Snaps seemed to then just fade into the background. Controversy during filming, coupled with the unfortunate timing coinciding with two high school shootings in North America, likely contributed to this movie falling away from mainstream attention.

Although not a high-budget production, it is a wonderfully crafted Canadian indie film that boasts an excellent cast and some of the most impressive makeup effects you'll ever witness in a movie featuring a character undergoing a gradual transformation into an animal. (Though, not as good as American Werewolf In London, obviously)

Now most people when watching a werewolf based movie would probably expect to see the transformation scenes steal the spotlight, like in the above mentioned AWIL, but Ginger Snaps breaks away from that norm. This horror movie is more about characters and themes than flashy effects and it's a film about the exploration of adolescence, sisterhood, and societal pressures.

It doesn't follow the expected trope of the smart sister finding a cure or putting down the transformed sibling, either, and the struggle between the sisters reflects on the universal theme of misunderstood teenagers navigating a world that doesn't understand them.

Set in a high school the movie follows the lives of the Fitzgerald sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins). Their grim fascination with death and discussions about a suicide pact mirroring their teenage angst. The story then takes a twist when Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf, which starts her slow transformation. 

The opening scene sets the stage for one of the most best montages in the history of indie horror films. The sisters boldly present a macabre gallery of death to their art class, showcasing images of themselves impaled on fences, succumbing to drug overdoses, drowning in a bathtub, being run over by lawnmowers, and other gruesome scenarios. It's definitely one of my personal favorite scenes from any movie.

Although the sisters have quite the morbid outlook on life, their bond is unbreakable and fiercely loyal. The tragedy of the film lies in witnessing their relationship deteriorate as Ginger undergoes her transformation and Bridgette grapples with the reality of the situation. 

Perkins' performance as Brigitte brings a quiet strength and resilience to her character, complementing Ginger's volatility. Together, Isabelle and Perkins create a dynamic duo whose bond is tested by internal and external struggles.

Despite its character-driven focus, the film doesn't shy away from gore and violence. You see the consequences of Ginger's transformation vividly and one scene in particular you witness is when Ginger is confronted by a dog barking aggressively at her in school when she unexpectedly responds by delivering a swift kick to the dog's head.

Ginger Snaps remains a darkly humorous and thought-provoking exploration of adolescence. Its mix of satire, horror, and coming-of-age themes will resonates with fans of films such as Heathers.

While it may not be a defining film of its genre, it's certainly a hidden gem that's worth discovering. It's refreshingly unpredictable, which is a rare quality in movies, and I despise predictability in films, and this one keeps you on your toes with its unexpected twists and turns.

Its a flawed yet fascinating portrayal of the werewolf mythos, proving that a werewolf movie can be more than just a creature feature. [Ginger Snaps on IMDB]

What are your thoughts on the movie? Let me know in the comments.

And check out some other reviews while you're here.

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