Ginger Snaps
Howlin'. Brigitte (Perkins, left) gets help for her increasingly hairy sister (Isabelle) from the local drug dealer (Lemke).
dir John Fawcett
scr Karen Walton
with Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, Peter Keleghan, Christopher Redman, Jimmy MacInnis, Lindsey Leese, Nick Nolan
release Canada 11.May.01; UK 29.Jun.01
Lions Gate 00/Canada 1h42
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
With an even more wicked sense of humour than the terrific Cherry Falls, this grisly werewolf film is actually a black comedy about a teen girl encountering menstruation. Yes, really. At ages 15 and 16, Brigitte and Ginger (Perkins and Isabelle) are sisters barely a year apart in age but in the same grade in school. And they're both slightly late bloomers, the school freaks who have made a suicide pact if things don't improve soon. Well, "improve" is a relative term. On the night Ginger gets her first period, she's also attacked by a creature that's been mauling neighbourhood dogs. Then she start changing, and her raging hormones don't help either. And the "curse" seems to also be a sexually transmitted disease when her tentative boyfriend (Moss) develops symptoms of his own. So Brigitte turns to the local drug dealer (Lemche) for a cure, and to stop the growing mayhem before the full moon arrives.

The gore factor is very high from the beginning, combined with humour about as dark as it can be. The result, surprisingly, is a film that is both hilarious and terrifying, often at the same time. It all works because the story is so ingenious--clever, witty, sharp, intelligent and unafraid to tackle taboo subjects with honesty and a refreshing lack of reverence. The characters are extremely well-defined and perfectly brought to life. Perkins is stunning, drawing us into Brigitte's desperate attempt to save Ginger ... while wondering what will happen when it's her own turn to, er, turn. And Rogers was inspired casting for their mother; she's absolutely wonderful--nosey, bossy, too cheery for words, and scary in her very own way! Fawcett develops the tension brilliantly, giving us just enough to keep us on the very edge of our seats--and off them more than once. This film stands as proof that you don't need a big budget, slick Hollywood production values or hot young TV stars to make a great teen thriller. In fact, it shows that we should ban all three from the genre forever.
grisly violence, themes, language cert 18 24.Apr.01

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Denyo, Istanbul: "I really loved this film. I think Katharine Isabelle will be one of the big stars in the close future. I love her performance in the movies (really wanna see At Shepherd Park)." (1.Jun.01)

Mitch, Philippines: "Ginger Snaps is the apotheosis of all werewolf films. No other movie has depicted young women so accurately. Any woman who has a sister, who has survived puberty, adolescent angst, high school, menstruation and cramps, will surely be able to relate to this cool, wickedly funny, touching film." (5.Jun.03)

2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall