A teenage girl is bitten by a werewolf and undergoes a massive
personality shift for the worse as her sister desperately tries to save her.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Directed by John Fawcett
Written by Karen Walton
Starring Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche,
Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton
Ginger Snaps is, in many ways, an important film in the horror genre. Not only does it flout most of the negative stereotypes of women in horror movies, but it maintained the use of practical effects over CGI and delivered a convincing werewolf. Unfortunately, these achievements are caught in a poorly acted Dawson's Creek episode that seems to think that its horror fan audience prefers to watch teenage angst over a werewolf story. I wanted to like the film, but it tries so hard to be genuine that it comes across as phony. Everything from the preppy jock bullies to the insincere Republican parents feels like a bad joke lifted from an Archie comic and really takes away from what could've been a truly mesmerizing werewolf movie.
Ginger Snaps follows outcast sisters Brigitte and Ginger, social pariahs at their high school who are so obsessed with death that it gets old pretty fast. One night, they are attacked by a werewolf in the woods and Ginger is bitten. From here, the film uses lycanthropy as a metaphor for Ginger experiencing her first period. It's a smart comparison that isn't executed all that well due to the unconvincing acting. As the curse consumes her, Ginger turns into a bitchy wannabe who tries to sleep with the hottest dude in school. Of course, this does evolve into a murderous rampage but the pace of the curse's incubation is so sluggish that by the time the real monster shows up, the movie is almost over.
Despite the mostly positive reviews over the years and a solid 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, I just don't buy Ginger Snaps as a memorable or exciting werewolf movie. Maybe it's just me. Maybe you'll think this movie is the definitive werewolf movie. But if you want my two cents, director John Fawcett should've focused more on the horror side of things instead of trying to bring the early 2000's WB network into a horror movie. I've seen the "teen angst vs. real monster" gimmick work better in the past. This one just doesn't cut it.