Friday, June 4, 2010

Ginger Snaps (2001)

Director: John Fawcett
Notable Cast: Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins

Oh, the beauty of low budget films. Having boundaries set based on foundational things like budgets or time can make for some pretty shitty films, but once in a full moon with a little inspiration and a bit of vision, there can be art made. That's what "Ginger Snaps" has going for it. Not necessarily the most original concept, this film succeeds far more than most mainstream Horror films due to some great witty dialogue and a new inspired and duel vision of what a werewolf film can be.

Brigitte and Ginger live on the outside. In a small little suburban town their fascination with death and the macabre makes them easy targets from others their age (around 16 that is). That's going to change though when a sudden string of animal attacks comes home and Ginger is attacked in the woods by a wolf like creature. Now the sisters have to deal with a whole new set of problems as Ginger begins to spiral down animalistic paths and Brigitte, with new friend Sam, struggle to find a cure for her sister's lycanthropia.

The interesting side about "Ginger Snaps" is the parallel concepts that the film makes between becoming a werewolf and going through puberty for women. Despite sounding a bit off the wall, the film does an amazing job with making them mesh and intertwine in ways that is both fairly obvious and subtle too. It's depth and ideas like this that can make Horror films great and it works for "Ginger Snaps" more often than not. Its clever and the film used it well.

Thrown in combination with some quirky dark humor, mostly in the witty dialogue, some weight on ideas on how far one goes for family versus the sake of 'what's right', and some pretty impressive acting from our two young ladies, this little film cooks quite the stew. Lots to chew on with some nice directorial flair to spice it up. Good special effects and clever use of budget also make this film noteworthy to Horror fans too. Although the werewolf's designs seem a little fake at times, the director uses nice cuts and clever pacing to make sure that it never bogs the film down. With some solid gore shots and tension filled atmosphere towards the end it more than makes up for its lack of budget.

"Ginger Snaps" shows the Horror world that with a solid script and a clever vision, even Hollywood can't keep you down. This film has a lot going for it more often than not and is a must have in the Horror genre if not one of the best werewolf films out there.

BONUS RANT: So I'm not sure why (spoiler alert) the film decided to tie up the story thread with an infected Jason so awkwardly. The idea was a nice one to have a test for their so called 'cure' for the werewolf infection, but the entire scene with him picked on a kid in a dog costume to the some what humorous but overly awkward ending to the scene just seems far too out of place. It almost feels as though the film wasn't sure what to do and how to go about that scene and it comes off as an odd bump in the pacing and character of the film. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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